DALLAS – The Mavericks survived against a struggling Sacramento team, pulling out a 107-103 victory Friday night.
How it happened: Dirk Nowitzki got just enough help during his second consecutive 30-plus-point performance.
Nowitzki scored a team-high 34 points on 11-of-19 shooting, following up his 38-point, 17-rebound wasted gem in fine fashion. Unlike Wednesday night against the Houston Rockets, the Mavs managed to get enough stops to allow the 12-time All-Star to smile at the buzzer.
It was scarier than it should have been against Sacramento, which was missing star center DeMarcus Cousins due to a sprained ankle but got a game-high 35 points and 12 rebounds from small forward Rudy Gay.
The Mavs led by as many as 11 points in the first half, but the Kings stormed out of intermission. Sacramento started the second half with a 17-3 run, featuring eight points by point guard Isaiah Thomas. Dallas’ deficit swelled to 14 before the Mavs made their comeback.
Mavs guard Monta Ellis scored 16 of his 20 points in the final 16 minutes, 5 seconds, including 11 points in the fourth quarter. Reserve center Brandan Wright, whose 10-point, 10-rebound outing was only his second double-double during his three-season Dallas stint, had six points and five rebounds in the fourth quarter. And Nowitzki had a dozen of his points in the final frame.
What it means: The Mavs remain in eighth place in the Western Conference standings by the hair of their chins. The Memphis Grizzlies briefly pulled even after winning in Minnesota, but the Mavs' victory moved them to 27-21 and gives them a half-game cushion again. The Kings (15-31) saw their losing streak extended to six games.
Play of the game: Ellis’ and-1 layup with 12.4 seconds remaining, which served as the dagger, was set up by a beautiful feed from Vince Carter. With the Kings scrambling, Carter had both feet on the midcourt logo when he fired a fastball to Ellis under the basket. The free throw stretched the Mavs’ lead to five points.
Stat of the night: The Mavs have won 19 consecutive home games against the Kings, their longest home winning streak ever against one opponent. The Kings’ most recent victory in Dallas was on Feb. 27, 2003.