DALLAS – Dirk Nowitzki continues to outrun Father Time.
Showing that he still has a lot left in the tank even at age 37, Nowitzki poured in 18 points Saturday night and led a furious rally which helped the Dallas Mavericks beat the New Orleans Pelicans, 107-98, before a sellout crowd of 29,454 at American Airlines Center.
Nowitzki scored nine points during a 25-10 run by the Mavs which blew the game open and gave Dallas a 96-80 lead midway through the fourth quarter. Overall, the 18-year veteran was 8-of-16 from the field, including 2-of-4 from 3-point territory.
"It was a game of runs for me,’’ Nowitzki said. "I made my first two, then I missed eight straight.
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"I had a couple of good looks there, a couple of them went in and out. Then I made six straight in the second half, focused and got the ball up a little more, using my legs.’’
A few of Nowitzki’s baskets came while he was being shadowed by Anthony Davis, the wiry superstar for the Pelicans who scored a career-high tying 43 points during Friday loss to the Atlanta Hawks.
"We all know Davis is a freak of nature,’’ Nowitzki said. "He can be in the paint and still contest my 3-pointer.
"That's just how long he is.’’
Nowitzki also is long. And cagey.
Early in the fourth quarter, Nowitzki worked his way on the blocks, faked Dante Cunningham, and employed an up-and-under move which he finished with a left-handed basket that got the crowd in lather and provided the Mavs with an 84-75 lead.
Nowitzki, though, was again mindful of sharing the praise and spreading it among several players who contributed mightily to the Mavs winning at home for the first time this season.
Dwight Powell tallied a career-high 15 points on 7-of-9 shots, and also collected seven rebounds in 26 minutes. That got Nowitzki’s attention.
"He's a great energy player,’’ Nowitzki said. "I wouldn't say our starting five is quite the energetic group, so I think when we go to our bench with (Jeremy) Evans, who is a high flyer, and Dwight and Devin (Harris) and J. J. (Barea) brings energy, that's our energy group.
"We were down quick, six or eight at the first timeout, and they picked it up for us.’’
As he and the Mavs get set to play the Pelicans again – this time in New Orleans on Tuesday – Nowitzki knows there’s still more work to be done. Especially after the Pelicans sliced a 16-point deficit down to six points with just over two minutes left in the game.
"I mean, we had a decent rhythm there for a while, but we’ve got to keep on working,’’ Nowitzki said. Wesley (Matthews) has to keep on getting better and they’re still keeping (Chandler) Parsons on his minutes restriction.
"So he's out there trying in the first half, get his rhythm. It's been weird, but that's how it's going to be for a while. We're going to fight through it and make the best out of it."
After two double-digit home losses to Toronto and Charlotte this past week, the Mavs shot 47.6 percent and finally were able to send their fans home with a smile on their face.
"We definitely needed a home win for our home fans after two rough games,’’ Nowitzki said. "It’s definitely a good win against a team that obviously has a lot of injuries and was on a back-to-back.
"So we had to grind this out. It was a good win."
Dwain Price can be heard every Wednesday from 3-4 p.m. on dfwiradio.com.