How it happened: In their last three home games, the Dallas Mavericks led the New Jersey Nets by 21, the Utah Jazz by 25 and on Monday night they had the Milwaukee Bucks down by 20 with 5:03 to play in the second quarter.
Each time the Mavs played with fire. For the first time they got burned.
The Bucks, led by Brandon Jennings and center Andrew Bogut, became the only team to actually come all the way back and take the lead, first at 61-60 midway through the third quarter and then several more time before Bogut’s steal and dunk made it 89-88.
Milwaukee rolled off 14 consecutive points to open a 97-88 lead with 3:32 to play. The Mavs had a chance to tie it and got the shot they wanted, but Dirk Nowitzki's fallaway well inside the free throw line didn't have enough lift and hit off the front rim. The Bucks, who had lost five in a row on the road and seven straight in Dallas, held on for the 103-99 victory.
And that was that for the Mavs’ 12-game win streak, which dies as the co-leader in NBA win streaks this season with the San Antonio Spurs.
Jennings led the comeback for the Bucks with 10 points in the third quarter and fearless play in the fourth. He finished with 23 points and 10 assists. Bogut had 21 points and 14 rebounds before fouling out late in the fourth quarter. Keyon Dooling converted a key three-point play after Nowitzki was called for a technical foul after he fouled Dooling with 0.9 seconds left in the third quarter.
Nowitzki led the Mavs with 30 points. Shawn Marion was next with 12 and Tyson Chandler and Jason Kidd each had 11. Jason Terry tried to provide some late-game magic once again with 10 of his 12 points coming in the final period.
The Mavs will look back on this one at some sloppy and untimely turnovers, and a poor night at the 3-point line, going 5-of-20 after lighting it up from downtown Saturday in that close call.
What it means: The Mavs fell short of tying the franchise’s third-longest win streak at 13 , which they’ve done three times, including last season after the big trade, and twice in the 2006-07 season when the club won a franchise-record 67 games. They'll look to start a new streak on Wednesday in the fifth game of the six-game homestand when the Portland Trail Blazers make their first visit of the season. Phoenix closes the homestand on Friday night.
Play of the game: With 5:37 to play in the fourth quarter and the Mavs inbounding at midcourt coming out of a timeout, Terry lobbed in an awful pass. Bogut picked it off and went in for the slam and an 89-88 Bucks lead. Two minutes later, Milwaukee had capped a 14-0 run and led 97-88.
Stat of the night: Nowitzki had another big night for the Mavs, but it was Milwaukee’s 7-footer Bogut who put up a Dirk-like 10-of-12 shooting night for 21 points, plus 14 rebounds, two assists and two blocks, before he fouled out with 1:06 to play and the Bucks leading 101-96. He could have done more damage if not for going 1-of-6 from the free throw line.