In some respects, even Dirk Nowitzki was amazed he scored 27 points in the second half of Saturday’s 110-107 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans.
In the first half, the Dallas Mavericks’ 11-time All-Star forward was just 2 of 8 from the field with 13 points against the Pelicans.
But in the second half Nowitzki was 8 of 12 shooting and was trying to explain how a 35-year old in the twilight of his career could be so productive while playing the fourth game in five nights.
“I don’t know where I found it in the second half [Saturday],” said Nowitzki, who scored a season-high 40 points. “The first half, like I said, wasn’t pretty.
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“I shot  free throws, which is not normal for this year any more. For me seeing  shots go through from the free throw line helped me find my rhythm.’’
Nowitzki became just the 12th player in NBA history to score at least 40 points when they were 35 years old or older.
The Mavs (22-16) are hoping Nowitzki remains red hot when they host the Orlando Magic (10-27) at 7:30 p.m. Monday at American Airlines Center.
Call helped Mavs
For the second time this season the NBA admitted to another late break that wound up in the Mavs’ favor.
Rod Thorn, the NBA’s president of basketball operations, released a statement Sunday saying that Pelicans guard Austin Rivers should have been awarded three free throws with 0.6 seconds left and the Mavs ahead by three points.
Thorn said Rivers was fouled by Mavs guard Monta Ellis, but that the referees missed the call and the game ended with Dallas winning 110-107.
That’s the second good break the Mavs have received this season.
On Dec. 30 in Minnesota, Thorn said that Timberwolves forward Kevin Love should have been awarded two free throws with one second left in a game the Mavs won 100-98. Thorn said Love was fouled by Shawn Marion while attempting a 21-footer.
Crowder playing well
The Mavs still aren’t sure when Shawn Marion will be able to play again.
In the meantime, Jae Crowder has played well over the past two games while starting in place of Marion.
In the back-to-back wins over the Pelicans on Friday and Saturday, Crowder was 6 of 13 from the field, scored 17 points, pulled down five rebounds, distributed five assists, picked up four steals and blocked two shots.
“This is an important time for him because he’s stepping up into a big role in terms of responsibility filling in for Marion, who is one of our better players,’’ coach Rick Carlisle.
Marion has missed the past three games after bruising his right shoulder and upper ribs Tuesday against the Los Angeles Lakers.