Mavs ride hot hands of Nowitzki and Ellis to win over Bobcats

Posted Tuesday, Dec. 03, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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In dire need of a win before hitting the road for a crucial four-game trip, the Dallas Mavericks turned to their stars for answers.

The results: Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis combined to score Dallas’ final 19 points Tuesday night and the Mavs rallied to eke out a hard-fought 89-82 triumph over the pesky Charlotte Bobcats at American Airlines Center.

The Mavs pushed their record to 11-8 and will play the New Orleans Hornets at 7 p.m. Wednesday at New Orleans Arena. The Bobcats dropped to 8-11 overall and 0-10 all-time in games played in Dallas.

Charlotte led 54-42 early in the third quarter and had all of the momentum. But the Mavs kept chipping away until three consecutive buckets by Nowitzki gave them a 76-75 lead with 4:24 left.

Not to be outdone, Ellis nailed three straight baskets that bumped the Dallas lead to 83-78 with two minutes left.

“You want the best players touching the ball as much as possible, so the chances are they’re going to get shots,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “Those guys did a great job scoring the ball down the stretch and we were getting really good stops.

“Our first and fourth quarters were very solid, and our second and third quarters were very poor. We’re lucky to survive it, but it’s the kind of game we totally expected it to be, so there’s no surprise.”

The only surprise came in the form of the disjointed game Nowitzki produced. In the first half, the Mavs’ all-time leading scorer produced only four points on 1-of-10 shooting.

But in the second half, Nowitzki was red-hot and converted 9-of-11 shots while tallying 21 of his game-high 25 points.

“I don’t know if I was bending my knees enough in the first half,” Nowitzki said. “I thought I had some good looks, but something was a little off.

“I was getting the ball up enough, and so at halftime I went out a little early and focused myself to really bend the knees and get a little lift on the jumper and that got my legs going.”

It must have gotten Ellis’ legs going, too.

From the time the Mavs trailed 73-70, Ellis and Nowitzki tallied the team’s final 19 points over the game’s last 5:38. Ellis scored 10 of his 22 points during the surge, and Nowitzki added nine points.

No basket for Ellis was bigger than his bucket from the corner with the shot clock running down that gave the Mavs the lead for good at 78-76.

“I don’t know if it was big, but it was a shot that we needed and it went down,” Ellis said. “Then we came back down on the defensive end and got two or three consecutive stops and came back out on the other end and, like I said, we made shots.”

The Mavs received some good news before tipoff when they found out point guard Jose Calderon was going to be able to start. After missing Saturday’s loss against Minnesota with a bone bruise on his right ankle, Calderon played 33 minutes, was 4-of-5 from 3-point range and tallied 12 points.

“He looked fine, he looked good to me,” Carlisle said. “We’ll see how he is [today].

“But tonight he was vital. He played extremely well.”

This was no beauty pageant of a win for the Mavs, but since they came in with four losses in their previous five games, they’ll take it.

“We were fortunate,” said Carlisle, whose team trailed 42-39 at the half. “Monta’s shot on the baseline was the biggest shot of the game — shot clock running down.

“That really was the momentum changer right there. Then the crowd really got into it and made it really hard on them.”

Dwain Price, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @dwainprice

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