Mavericks Win Eighth Straight; Heat Rolling Into All-Star Break

Wednesday, February 14th 2007, 9:35 am
By: News On 6

The Dallas Mavericks used a strong 4th-quarter to rally for their eighth straight win. The Miami Heat are rolling, too, and when they return to the court after the All-Star game, coach Pat Riley will be back on the sideline for the first time since January 3.

Dirk Nowitzki had 38 points, 11 rebounds and 8-assists, and the Mavs overcame a 16-point 2nd-half deficit to pull out a 99-93 victory at Milwaukee on Tuesday night. The Mavericks, with the NBA's best record of 43-9, outscored the Bucks 28-11 in the 4th-quarter. Milwaukee self-destructed with 6-turnovers and failed to hit a field goal in the final 7:05.

``We really scrambled trying to contest shots,'' Nowitzki said. ``We feel like we're a good defensive team, but we have to step it up earlier. Especially on the road, you don't want a team to get up 16.''

Dallas took its first lead of the game, 93-92, with 1:04 to play on Nowitzki's layup after the Mavericks got a third chance with a pair of offensive rebounds.

Dwyane Wade shook off a bruised left shoulder to score 16 of his 35 points in the 4th-quarter, and Miami beat Portland 104-85 to get back to the .500 mark for the first time in three months.

The NBA champion Heat have won seven of eight to even their record at 26-26 going into the All-Star break. Riley will be back next week after recovering from surgeries on his hip and knee.

``I'm just glad we won. We've gotten to the point we kept talking about,'' said interim coach Ron Rothstein, who went 13-9 as Riley's replacement and helped the team recover from being six games under .500 on January 27. ``Now this is our launching pad for after the break.''

In other games Tuesday night, it was: San Antonio 107, New Jersey 82; Memphis 108, New Orleans 104; Toronto 112, Chicago 111; Houston 109, Sacramento 104 in overtime; and New York 107, the Los Angeles Lakers 106.

Milwaukee's Ruben Patterson, who finished with 20 points, tied the score 93 by hitting the second of two free throws. But Nowitzki drove and found Jason Terry for a 16-foot jumper that put Dallas ahead 95-93 with 34.9 seconds left.

``Dirk Nowitzki is incredible,'' Mavericks coach Avery Johnson said. ``Man, sometimes, I get caught watching him, he's so good.''

With a chance to tie, the Bucks missed yet another shot when Charlie Bell, who finished with 11 points, misfired on an 18-footer. The Mavericks got the rebound, and Jerry Stackhouse hit 2-free throws. Nowitzki added 2-free throws of his own for the final margin.

Dallas, which has now won 29 of its last 31 games, also got 15 points from Josh Howard and 13 points from Stackhouse. Terry also had 10 assists.

Andrew Bogut had 16 points and 17 rebounds for Milwaukee, which has lost seven of its last eight and is 3-18 since January 1.

At Miami, Wade almost single-handedly decided things with three straight baskets in an 88-second span early in the 4th-quarter. The Heat led 73-70 entering the period, and the game was still up for grabs when Juan Dixon hit a 3-pointer with 9:14 left.

However, Wade's three baskets pushed the lead to 85-75 _ the Heat's biggest to that point _ with 7:46 remaining. Miami would lead by as many as 21 in the final minutes.

``He showed why he is one of the best players in the league,'' Portland's Joel Przybilla said. ``He just took over. They showed why they are the world champs.''

Spurs 107, Nets 82

Tim Duncan scored 7 of his 21 points in a 20-0 San Antonio spurt to start the 2nd-quarter and the visiting Spurs took advantage of the absence of Nets All-Star guard Jason Kidd.

Tony Parker added 19 points and Manu Ginobili had 14 as the Spurs avoided tying their season-high three-game losing streak with their third win in eight games.

Vince Carter had 18 points, 6-rebounds and 5-assists for the Nets.

Grizzlies 108, Hornets 104

Hakim Warrick scored 15 points, including 6-straight in a key stretch late in the 4th-quarter, and grabbed 12 rebounds for host Memphis.

Mike Miller scored 22 points to lead the Grizzlies. Chucky Atkins added 19, Rudy Gay had 18, and Junior Harrington and Pau Gasol 11 each.

Desmond Mason scored 23 points and David West had 22 as New Orleans snapped its three-game winning streak. Tyson Chandler had 17 points and a franchise record-tying 23 rebounds for the Hornets.

Raptors 112, Bulls 111

At Chicago, Chris Bosh sank 2-free throws with 2.1 seconds left and Toronto blew a 12-point 4th-quarter lead before recovering for its 28th win _ one more than the Raptors had all of last season.

Bosh finished with 25 points and 14 rebounds for the Raptors, who have won nine of their last 11 and ended a 15-game losing streak against the Bulls stretching back to December 6, 2002.

Luol Deng scored 30 points and Ben Gordon added 26 for the Bulls.

Rockets 109, Kings 104, OT

Tracy McGrady had 28 points and 12 assists as host Houston overcame Ron Artest's big night.

Artest matched his career high with 39 points, hitting 12 of 23 shots and going 10-11 from the free throw line, and also had 8-rebounds for the Kings.

His free throws with 1:47 left in overtime put the Kings up 104-103, but McGrady hit a turning fadeaway over Artest with 1:29 left to put Houston up for good.

Knicks 107, Lakers 106

Eddy Curry scored 4-of his 19 points in the final minute, including a go-ahead dunk with 7.1 seconds remaining, to lift visiting New York to its third win in four games.

Kobe Bryant, who had 31 points, made a short jumper with 29.9 seconds left to put the Lakers ahead, but Curry scored off a lob pass from Jamal Crawford.

The Lakers had plenty of time to go for a winning shot, but Bryant never touched the ball and Lamar Odom's jumper as time expired didn't hit the rim.