Dallas Mavericks hold off pesky Warriors

DALLAS -- Getting up for a team headed to the lottery wasn't as easy as the Dallas Mavericks thought it would be.

The Golden State Warriors started four rookies Friday night against Dallas. But it took a fourth-quarter surge by the Mavs before they finally put away the pesky Warriors 104-94 at American Airlines Center.

"That team is a young, excited team and they cause a lot of matchup problems," forward Shawn Marion said. "They push the ball and they're out there just playing freely and just letting it fly."

The free-flying Warriors were within 71-70 of the Mavs late in the third quarter until Vince Carter scored eight points during a 15-5 run to push the Mavs ahead 86-75.

From there, the Mavs flexed their muscles and showed why they're headed to the playoffs for the 12th straight season and why the Warriors will be on vacation this time next week.

Carter scored all 19 of his points in the second half and added nine rebounds. Dallas also was aided by a season-high 17 points, along with seven rebounds, from Brandan Wright, and 16 points apiece from Dirk Nowitzki and Delonte West.

It was the final regular-season home game for the Mavs, who play the Bulls in Chicago at 7 tonight.

"We saw something that we were able to get to, and they couldn't match up and guard it and we just kept going back and forth to it," Marion said of Carter. "I love seeing that, and we're doing that more and more."

That strategy is something Carter has prepared himself for in recent weeks.

"My role is still the same," Carter said. "I'm just getting ready for the playoffs and being another threat for the team. We need to prepare ourselves for the playoffs. So regardless of if we're playing for something or not, everybody else will be ready to go."

With Klay Thompson (26 points), Brandon Rush (20) and Dorrell Wright (19) filling up the basket, the Warriors only trailed the Mavs 50-49 at intermission.

But the Mavericks, who battered the Warriors on the backboards 52-35, shifted to a higher gear and padded their record to 36-28 with two games left before the playoffs start.

"I really liked the way West played tonight," coach Rick Carlisle said. "Defensively he was a big factor, made key plays, key baskets.

"They made runs at us and he was involved in a lot of the plays that kind of stemmed the tide."

A basket by Wright, a 3-pointer from Carter and another bucket from Wright bumped the Mavs' lead to 102-88 with 1:57 remaining.

"When I get my opportunities I just try to make the best of it," said Wright, who was 8 of 9 from the field. "With the centers, it's kind of tough, because we really don't know if we're going to play a lot of minutes or a little bit."

Wright certainly made the most of the 17 minutes he played.

Now it's on to Chicago, which owns the best record in the NBA at 47-16.

"They're tough," Nowitzki said. "Their big guys really crash the paint and they play together. I really like how they compete. It's going to be challenge, and they're going to keep coming for 48 minutes."

Dwain Price, 817-390-7760


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