Dirk buries winner to finish Dallas Mavericks' comeback

Posted Saturday, Mar. 31, 2012  comments  Print Reprints
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ORLANDO -- If coach Rick Carlisle wanted to pass out game balls after Friday's 100-98 win over the Orland Magic, he would probably have been out of a lot of money.

Everyone from Jason Terry to Ian Mahinmi to Delonte West to Shawn Marion to Vince Carter had a huge hand in the Mavs stunning the Magic at the Amway Center. And of course, when the Mavs need a crucial basket, they're always able to turn to 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki.

Nowitzki again delivered the knockout punch that got the Mavs another victory. This time the 14-year veteran fired a 16-footer off the glass over the outstretched arms of Hedo Turkoglu with 5.9 seconds to break a 98-98 tie and sent the Mavs home with a 1-1 split of their Florida trip.

The hard-fought victory came as the Mavs battled back from a 15-point deficit in the third quarter and improved to 2-19 when trailing after the third period.

And that final shot was vintage Nowitzki.

"It's a fun situation to be in," said Nowitzki, who scored a game-high 29 points. "If you miss it you still have a chance to rebound or at least go to overtime with a stop.

"I tried to lean back and create a little separation. Hedo was up on me pretty good, so I just tried to get it up over him and got it up in the air and it fell on the glass and fell in."

The Magic, though, still had enough time on the clock to do some damage. But Turkoglu missed a three-pointer, and Ryan Anderson missed a layup as time expired after he grabbed an offensive rebound.

"We hung in there," Carlisle said. "We were down 15 and just chipped away. We showed a lot of fortitude, a lot of grit and a lot of togetherness."

Dallas trailed 77-62 with 2:35 left in the third period. But the game was tied at 89-89 with 8:12 remaining after Terry fired in 10 straight points and assisted on a layup to Marion.

It was a comforting bounce-back game for Terry, who was just 1-of-10 from the field and scored just three points during Thursday's 21-point loss to the Miami Heat.

"I wanted to shoot the ball 20 times," said Terry, who was 7-of-12 from the field with 17 points. "It didn't happen that way early, so I had to stay within the game plan and wait for opportunities to come.

"We did what we had to do to win and this is a big win for us."

West played a big role. Back for just his second game since Feb. 15 because of a fractured right ring finger, West had 15 points with five assists.

West's 3-pointer got the Mavs within one point late in the game, and his two free throws put them ahead 98-97 with 1:10 to go.

"As a team, I'm proud of the way we bounced back," West said. "The way this team fought and gained the lead back and then go on and win the game, I hope it gives us some momentum going down the stretch run."

After West's two free throws, Mahinmi, who battled big Dwight Howard for most of the night, came up with a huge block at the rim on Turkuglo. But he said he paid a heavy price Friday.

"My shoulder is kind of messed up," Mahinmi said. "I don't know what happened because, for a minute it was numb and I couldn't feel anything and I was kind of scared."

But like the rest of his teammates, Mahinmi gathered himself and hopped on the team bus, glad that the Mavs were able to escape Orlando.

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