Dallas Mavericks

Nowitzki knows other teams have pride too

DALLAS – Dirk Nowitzki has somewhat figured out why the Dallas Mavericks are having so many problems defending teams in the third quarter after doing such a solid job defending them in the first two quarters.

"The other teams have got pride like all teams in the league,’’ Nowitzki, the Mavs’ superstar forward, said. "They’ve got capable players, they come in with nothing to lose and they start to get hot and making shot and then we’ve got to take the ball out every time.

"We can do the same flow offense that we can do and get stops, and that’s what gets us in trouble. And then the offense get a little stagnant, we’ve got to run plays every time down, which is not our favorite thing to do.’’

After Boston trailed 67-41 at the half, but opened the third quarter with a 28-10 run, the Mavs’ offense got stagnant. But despite the Celtics eventually cut a 31-point deficit to one point with 39.5 seconds left, the Mavs managed to hold on and win 118-113.

"We’ve got to look at it positive,’’ said Nowitzki, who scored 27 points in 30 minutes. "We keep getting 20-25-point leads -- that’s hard to do in this league.

"Now we’ve got to take care of the next step and be more solid in the second half.’’