Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki, selected for his 12th All-Star Game
on Thursday, led the Mavs' comeback with 34 points, including 12 in
the decisive fourth quarter. He spoiled Kings forward Rudy Gay's
effort that included 35 points, 12 rebounds and six assists.
The Kings (15-31) led 78-64 with 3:44 to go in the third quarter
after Gay drove the baseline for a bucket. But again playing without
star center and offensive anchor DeMarcus Cousins, who is nursing a
sprained left ankle, the Kings' offense quickly came unglued and the
lead began to slip away.
Nowitzki's fourth-quarter 3-pointer, the Mavs' first of the game on
15 attempts, cut the deficit to 87-85. Guard Monta Ellis' two free
throws tied it with 7:46 to play.
As the Kings' offense continued to melt down in the fourth quarter
after their torrid third, Dallas (27-21) took the lead, 89-87, on
two Nowitzki free throws with 6:54 left. The Kings kept it close,
but they never regained the lead.
"He's our horse and a guy that we rely on," Mavs forward Brandan
Wright said of Nowitzki, who had 38 points and 17 rebounds in
Wednesday night's two-point loss to Houston. "He's bringing it every
night at 35 years old and not leaving a single drop of energy in his
body when he is playing. We are riding that momentum and hopefully
we can help him out and carry this thing to the playoffs."
Ellis provided second-half help. He sealed the victory with a
three-point play with 12.4 seconds to go and then two free throws
with 4.6 seconds left for the final margin.
The victory was huge for Dallas in the Western Conference standings.
Had the Mavs lost, the streaking Memphis Grizzlies, winners of five
in a row after Friday's victory at Minnesota, would have knocked
Dallas out of a playoff spot for the first time this season.
"Dirk was great, obviously, with 34 points in 34 minutes," Mavs
coach Rick Carlisle said. "It was a tough night because our
shot-making wasn't great. It took us almost three-and-a-half
quarters to hit a 3.
"On those nights, you've got to hang in somehow and Sacramento had a
pretty good groove going. Gay had it going early; he had 18 points
on six shots in the first half. That's tough. We got down, but we
The Mavs overcame a 2-of-19 night from beyond the arc by going 29 of
36 at the free-throw line, outscoring the Kings by nine, and by
committing just four turnovers. Dallas scored 18 points off 15
"You look at them, they have four turnovers for four points. Good
teams don't beat themselves," Kings coach Michael Malone said. "And
we had (15) turnovers for (18) points. So it's very hard to win on
the road when you beat yourself like we did tonight at times."
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Ellis rebounded from a recent scoring slump to score 20 points on
6-of-10 shooting from the field. He had 16 points in the second
Point guard Jose Calderon had 14 points, including a big 3-pointer
during the Mavs' fourth-quarter rally, and backup center Brandan
Wright had 10 points and 10 rebounds.
"I thought Ellis played probably his best all-around game of the
season," Carlisle said. "He had zero turnovers. He was extremely
disciplined at both ends of the floor. He waited for the
opportunities to pop and then he got to the rim. He had assists. He
made huge free throws at the end. He was fantastic tonight."
The Kings outshot Dallas 50.7 percent to 47.5 percent from the field
but were outscored 32-22 in the fourth quarter.
Point guard Isaiah Thomas had 19 points and six assists for the
"In the fourth quarter, you allow that team to score 32 points, and
we put them on the foul line, we didn't get loose balls, we didn't
get rebounds," Malone said. "And if you let that team hang around — Monta started being in attack mode (and) got to the foul line; Dirk,
obviously that's why he's a Hall of Fame player; but we just had no
defensive mindset or presence in that fourth quarter and that's been
our challenge all year long if you've watched us play."
NOTES: Kings C DeMarcus Cousins missed his fifth consecutive game
with a sprained left ankle. Kings coach Michael Malone said Cousins
will also likely miss Saturday's game at San Antonio with a possible
return Monday at home against Chicago. ... Cousins said he was
disappointed he wasn't selected as a reserve to the West All-Star
team on Thursday. "I feel like I was pretty deserving of an All-Star
spot," he said. ... Mavs F Shawn Marion missed the game with a right
shoulder contusion, a recurring injury that forced him out of four
games earlier in the season. ... Mavs F Dirk Nowitzki was named to
his 12th All-Star team as a reserve. In Wednesday night's game
against Houston, Nowitzki became the 13th player in NBA history to
surpass 26,000 career points. ... Dallas has now won its last 19
home games against Sacramento, the Mavs' longest ever home winning
streak against one opponent. ... After the game, the Mavericks
assigned rookie Gs Shane Larkin and Ricky Ledo to the Texas Legends
of the NBA Development League.
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