March 30, 2013

Nowitzki, Mavericks stun Chicago Bulls with closing rally

Dallas ends the game on a 15-1 run capped by Dirk Nowitzki's 3-pointer in the final seconds.

DALLAS -- Years from now, they may call Saturday's Dallas Mavericks-Chicago Bulls game The Miracle at American Airlines Center.

Looking like all was lost, the Mavs ended the game on a 15-1 run and wound up stunning the Bulls, 100-98.

Chicago led 97-85 with 4:08 left and appeared well on its way to claiming a victory. But Dirk Nowitzki buried a three-pointer with 2.9 seconds left and the Mavs finished this six-game home stand with a 4-2 record.

Nate Robinson, who had hit his previous seven three-pointers, missed one at the buzzer and the sellout crowd of 20,502 started jumping for joy.

Nowitzki finished with a season-high 35 points, Vince Carter scored 17, and Brandan Wright had 17 points and 13 rebounds.

After the horrible events of Thursday night when they lost to Indiana by 25 points, the last thing the Mavs wanted to do was leave town for a four-game road trip with a two-game losing streak packed in their luggage.

The victory gave the Mavs an extra boost of energy as they open a four-game road trip Tuesday in Los Angeles Lakers.

That road trip also includes games against Denver, Sacramento and Portland before the Mavs return home to host the Phoenix Suns on Apr. 10.

The Mavs now trail the Utah Jazz by just one game for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Lakers (37-36) also have the same record as the Jazz, but Utah owns the tiebreaker over the Lakers, which is why the Jazz would get the No. 8 seed over the Lakers if the season ended today.

Against the Bulls, Dirk Nowitzki got the the Mavs off to a good start by scoring eight points in the first quarter, which ended with Dallas clinging to a slim 24-23 lead. The Mavs then went on a Nowitzki-led 13-3 run to bolt ahead, 41-34, with 6:13 left in the second period following a three-pointer by Vince Carter.

But, led by Carlos Boozer, the Bulls countered with a 14-4 rally and took a 48-45 cushion with 3:01 remaining before intermission. Shortly thereafter, Nowitzki hit consecutive baskets -- the latter one giving with 20 points on 8-of-8 shooting -- that kept the Mavs close to the visitors.

Still, another bucket by Boozer and a three-pointer by Nate Robinson helped stake the Bulls to a 56-53 lead at the half.

This was the Bulls' first game since Wednesday when they made major headlines for snapping the Miami Heat's 27-game winning streak.

Luol Deng, Carlose Boozer and Robinson each scored 25 points for the Bulls.

-- Dwain Price

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