How it happened: Vince Carter came up big during crunch time, preventing the Mavericks from losing a game they led by as many as 15 points in the fourth quarter.
The Bucks, led by Monta Ellis (32 points, nine assists), made a run to trim Dallas’ lead to as few as five points. But Carter caught fire in the final 5:31, scoring 13 of his team-high 23 points in that span.
Carter’s scoring flurry featured three 3-pointers, an acrobatic, driving layup and a couple of clutch free throws. His first bucket of the quarter snapped a Dallas scoring drought that lasted almost four minutes.
Other than Carter, the Mavs’ only field goal in the final 9:22 came on a long 2-point jumper by Jae Crowder, the rookie who had 14 points and a season-high eight rebounds in his return to the Bradley Center, where he starred for Marquette.
The Mavs built their lead by dominating the second quarter, going on a 15-0 run fueled by a surprising spark by Rodrigue Beaubois (seven points, three assists in the frame) at one point.
Dirk Nowitzki had his third double-double of the season, scoring 19 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. He had 17 of his points in the first half.
What it means: The Mavs (30-33) remained three games behind the eighth-place Los Angeles Lakers in the West standings. Dallas has a four-game winning streak for only the second time this season. This is the first time all season that the Mavs have won three consecutive games on the road.
Play of the game: Brandan Wright’s block sparked a fast break that Beaubois finished with a 3-pointer a few seconds before halftime. After Wright rejected Ellis’ floater in the lane, James pushed the ball up the floor and found Beaubois wide open in the corner. Beaubois knocked down the shot to extend the Mavs’ lead to eight points.
Stat of the night: The Mavs are 4-0 since Rick Carlisle inserted James into the starting lineup.