DALLAS – Whenever the Dallas Mavericks need a clutch basket Wednesday night against
the Houston Rockets, they knew they could count on Dirk Nowitzki.
When the Mavs were down and the game appeared as though it was slipping away, Nowitzki switched to a higher gear and got the Mavs right back on track. The 14-year veteran tallied 31 of his 35 points in the second half in spectacular fashion as the Mavs rallied for a 117-110 victory over the Rockets
at American Airlines Center.
The Mavs’ franchise record for the most points in a half is held by Nowitzki, who tallied 34 points in the second half of a Nov. 3, 2009 game against the Utah Jazz.
As Nowitzki was in the midst of his “zone,” some fans started chanting MVP! MVP! The chants were
certainly well deserved after Nowitzki tallied 21 of his point sin the fourth quarter when the Mavs scored 39 points after trailing 84-78 entering the final period.
“In the second half I was able to get some good looks,’’ said Nowitzki, who was 8-of-11 from the field and 12-of-12 from the free throw line in the second half. “Guys kept looking for me.
“I had some cuts to the basket, I had some three’s that went in, so I just got involved in the game a little more. I had some good looks, I got to the foul line -- that obviously helps – so it was fun way to play.’’
The fourth quarter was particularly fun for Nowitzki. In that quarter alone he was 4-of-6 from the field, 2-of-3 from three-point range and 11-of-11 from the charity stripe.
But Nowitzki will be the first to say that Wednesday’s victory wasn’t all about him.
Vince Carter tallied 10 straight points for the Mavs in the first quarter – he had 23 points overall -- which ended knotted at 27 apiece. Jason Terry opened the second quarter by tallying 10 of the Mavs’ first 12 points, and he finished the night with 19 points
And Jason Kidd scored the Mavs’ final nine points – all on three-pointers -- of the first half, which ended tied at 55-55.
“The pick and roll was good for us all night,’’ Nowitzki said. “The first half Vince got in for two or three dunks.
“They really stayed at home on me. Our guards were able to get in the paint and make some stuff happen.’’
Nowitzki also credits Kidd for helping bring the Mavs (35-28) out of their deep sleep.
“We had a slow first half, no energy,’’ Nowitzki said. “But the guys did a good job keeping us in the game.
“J-Kidd had a good first half with a couple of three’s. That really kept us in the game.’’
Nowitzki’s shooting spree moved the Mavs to within one win of clinching a playoff spot. They also moved up to sixth in the Western Conference standings because of Denver’s 104-98 loss to the
Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday.
“He hit some tough shots,’’ forward Shawn Marion said of Nowitzki. “He had some good looks early, but they weren’t going in.
“But as soon as they started going in, he was able to get to the free throw line and it just opened up everything.’’
-- Dwain Price
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