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Dirk Nowitzki won't let coach take blame

NEW ORLEANS -- A Jason Kidd steal and an alert timeout by J.J. Barea gave the Dallas Mavericks an improbable chance to rally and win Wednesday night's game with a golden possession with 6.2 seconds to go and the New Orleans Hornets leading, 98-97.

After a timeout to draw up a play, Kidd inbounded from halfcourt. His pass went to Dirk Nowitzki out high around the top of the 3-point arc. With Hornets forward David West all over him and blocking Nowitzki's favored path to the left, the Mavs' 7-footer tried to dribble behind his back to create separation, but West reached in and cleanly swiped the ball away with 1.9 seconds left.

"The last play is on me," coach Rick Carlisle said. "I’ll take the blame for that. It put Dirk in a tough situation."

Nowitzki, predicatably, wouldn't let his coach shoulder the blame alone.

"Just my fault really," Nowitzki said. "I caught the ball too far out and tried to make a move that I don’t really have in my arsenal. But, like I said earlier to the guys, I didn’t want to spin too far out because I knew they were coming from my blind side, as a lot of teams do, and I knew if I spin I don't see the guys, the ball might be gone. Looking back now, since the ball was gone anyway, I might have spun. I wanted to go left, he cut me off and then usually my spin’s coming, but I was too far away."

Kidd fouled West after the steal, but West missed missed the first of two free throws to give the Mavs one last chance to tie or win with a three, but a 15th turnover and 10th of the second half, ended the game.