Whenever the Sacramento Kings played the Dallas Mavericks the last few years, they turned to Chris Webber, Doug Christie or Vlade Divac to come up with big baskets or defensive stops.
Those days are long gone now.
Webber joined Christie and Divac as ex-Kings with his trade to Philadelphia on Wednesday night. In the first game without Webber, Sacramento opened strong and was up by nine in the fourth quarter, but wound up losing 122-113 in Dallas on Thursday night.
Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavericks' comeback by scoring 17 of his 34 points in the final period, including a short jumper with 4:39 left that put Dallas ahead for good. Michael Finley added two 3-pointers after that to send the Kings to their third loss in four games, and seventh in nine.
In other games Thursday night, New York beat Philadelphia 113-101 and the Los Angeles Clippers defeated Minnesota 92-86.
The Webber trade and an injury to Peja Stojakovic left the Kings with only eight players, while Dallas opted to use only eight. The Mavs dressed just 10, including two rookie centers fresh off the injured list, because earlier in the day they sent big men Alan Henderson and Calvin Booth to Milwaukee for Keith Van Horn. Jerry Stackhouse also was out with an injury.
Dallas used its reserves a lot more than Sacramento, and the fresher legs seemed to pay off. The Mavericks had a 13-2 run among their season-best 40 points in the fourth quarter while the weary, emotionally drained Kings went nearly 4 1/2 minutes without a field goal down the stretch.
``Our team is very resilient and if we are to get through this, we're going to have to fight through this,'' Sacramento coach Rick Adelman said. ``Being on the road, making a trade and having Peja out, there are no answers. We have to play hard and smart and we'll be OK.''
This loss made for a bad start to a six-game, nine-day road trip that continues Saturday _ in Philadelphia, against Webber and the 76ers. At least Sacramento will have its three new players and maybe Stojakovic, too.
Playing at home for the first time in 16 days, Dallas maintained the momentum of its 5-0 road trip, a franchise best that included wins in Phoenix, Seattle and Sacramento.
Marquis Daniels started for the first time since Dec. 6 and had season-highs with 29 points and eight assists, plus nine rebounds. Finley added 22 points, six rebounds and four assists. Josh Howard had 16 points and nine rebounds, and Devin Harris added 11 points before spraining his neck on the play that led to coach Don Nelson's ejection.
``I'm really proud of us gutting this win out,'' said Dallas assistant coach Avery Johnson, who took over when Don Nelson was ejected late in the third quarter. ``They handled a lot of adversity during the course of the game. ... Everybody that touched the court tonight contributed in some way.''
Mike Bibby and Cuttino Mobley each scored 26 for the Kings, and Darius Songaila got off to a good start in his increased role by posting a career-high 23 points and a season-high 12 rebounds.
``It was obviously different without (Webber),'' said center Brad Miller, who had 16 points and 15 rebounds. ``He was playing real well for us and not having him out there took some time to get used to. He's the guy everyone would look to and it was up to the rest of us to step it up. We're going to have to fill his shoes and make adjustments.''
Knicks 113, 76ers 101
At New York, Kurt Thomas scored 21 points on 10-for-11 shooting for the Knicks. Tim Thomas shot 10-for-14 and led New York with 27 points.
Allen Iverson scored 29 points for Philadelphia, which was playing without Chris Webber. Acquired late Wednesday night from Sacramento, Webber will make his 76ers debut Saturday against his old team, the Kings.
Clippers 92, Timberwolves 86
At Los Angeles, Elton Brand scored 24 points to help the Clippers snap an eight-game losing streak.
Kevin Garnett had 14 points and eight rebounds for Minnesota while playing just 32 minutes because of foul trouble. He played only four minutes in the third quarter after picking up his fourth foul with 8:20 left.
Corey Maggette added 19 points for Los Angeles, which beat Minnesota for the first time in 10 games.