DALLAS -- Shawn Marion showed once again why he is one of the game's best defenders.
Faced with a very tough defensive assignment, Marion held high-scoring New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony to a mere six points Tuesday night as the Dallas Mavericks won a wild game 95-85 before 20,605 at American Airlines Center.
Anthony came in averaging 21.6 points per game. But he was only 2 of 12 from the field, and the Knicks were plus-14 in the fourth quarter with him on the bench and minus-11 with him on the floor.
"I try to make it uncomfortable for him," Marion said. "He's a very talented player. I try to do the best I can to make these guys take tough shots and crowd him."
The Mavs are now 23-17 on the season and will play three games in three days starting Thursday in Phoenix.
This was the kind of game the Mavs could see in the playoffs. Both teams put up defensive fronts, with the Mavs getting the last surge.
After the Knicks opened the fourth quarter on a 15-0 run to take a 78-77 lead with 4:54 left, the Mavs answered with a 14-0 run of their own to forge ahead 91-78 with 1:59 left. Dirk Nowitzki tallied nine of his game-high 28 points during the decisive run, which started after the Mavs opened the fourth quarter 0 of 9 from the field with three turnovers.
"In this season no lead is safe, no deficit is too large," coach Rick Carlisle said. "You've got to keep playing, keep playing, keep playing. They made a heck of a run to take the lead, and we made a heck of a run to put the game away."
The Mavs got 18 points from Rodrigue Beaubois and 15 points and six assists from Jason Kidd.
Down the stretch, where the Mavs have had issues executing this season, it was really all about Nowitzki, who had 11 of his points in the fourth.
"We talked about what we had to do defensively to get stops, and certainly the turnovers weren't helping us," Carlisle said. "Really it was addressing those two things."
With Beaubois flying around the basket, the Mavs built a 66-47 lead early in the third quarter, only to see it wither away and eventually vanish.
"We couldn't have won without [Beaubois]," Carlisle said. "He was doing a terrific job of scoring the ball and then had some situations where he was casual with the ball, and then all of a sudden he's in the middle of everything, and that's part of the learning when you play the point position."
The Mavs played without centers Brendan Haywood (ankle) and Brandan Wright (concussion). That left Carlisle to use Ian Mahinmi (nine points, six boards), Yi Jianlian, Nowitzki and Marion at center at times.
Amare Stoudemire led the Knicks with 26 points, Jeremy Lin had 14 points and seven assists, and Steve Novak added 13 points.
But conspicuously quiet was Anthony, who was shadowed all night by Marion.
"In the opportunities where Carmelo had openings, he just seemed a little out of rhythm," Carlisle said. "We were fortunate, but I think Shawn had something to do with it."