SAN ANTONIO -- Dirk Nowitzki showed up Wednesday night at the AT&T Center and gave the Dallas Mavericks a legitimate chance of taking control of this first-round playoff series against the San Antonio Spurs.
Mired in a shooting slump during the first four games of this series, Nowitzki popped in 26 points on 10-of-20 shots. That includes tallying 14 points in the fourth period during a furious rally by the Mavs, who eventually fell to the Spurs, 109-103, to fall behind San Antonio in htis best-of-seven series, 3-2.
"I just made some shots,'' said Nowitzki, who also grabbed a game-high 15 rebounds. "I thought I actually felt pretty good in the first half.
"I had a bunch of balls that rolled in and out. I stuck with it, my teammates said keep shooting, and I was able to make a couple there in the fourth.''
Nowitzki entered Game 5 with just 25 baskets in 65 attempts during the first four games of this series. But coach Rick Carlisle was convinced a night like Wednesday was going to happen for his 12-time All-Star.
"He just stayed aggressive,'' Carlisle said. "We are just playing basketball and we wnat the ball touching his hands in good situations.
"He still puts the ball on the floor better thna he likes to lead on. I thought he drove it well in Game 4 as well.''
Wednesday was the first time in this series in which Nowitzki enjoyed a 20-point plus scoring output.
"We tried to get him some easy shots and get him where he is comfortable and he succeeded and knocked some shots down for us,'' said Vince Carter, who scored a game-high 28 points. "Hopefully, he is feeling good.''
-- Dwain Price
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