Millsap scores 20 to rally Hawks past Mavericks 98-95

DALLAS -- With their best defensive effort of the season, the Atlanta Hawks harassed Dallas into its worst shooting performance yet.

Paul Millsap scored 20 points, including a jumper that capped Atlanta's game-turning run in the final minutes, and the Hawks beat the Mavericks 98-95 on Wednesday night.

Atlanta held the Mavericks to 36 percent shooting. The team's previous best was 37.2 percent on two occasions. Dallas' previous worst was 36.1 percent in its first loss of the season, 104-88 to the Los Angeles Clippers.

"Our contests and our effort to get to their shooters was good," Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. "I didn't think anybody got into a rhythm. So, a couple times when they were open, maybe they didn't feel good and maybe didn't have as much confidence."

Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle attributed the loss to his team's lack of intensity early in a back-and-forth game that featured 20 lead changes and 11 ties. The largest margin was Atlanta's six-point edge in the fourth quarter.

"They were getting steals and putbacks and stuff, so the energy definitely wasn't there in the first half," Dallas' Zaza Pachulia said.

The Mavericks inbounded with 11.4 seconds left after Jeff Teague hit two free throws to put the Hawks ahead 98-95. Deron Williams' long 3-point attempt at the buzzer banged off the rim.

Millsap also led Atlanta with 11 rebounds, giving him his 11th double-double of the season. Teague and Al Horford added 14 points apiece for the Hawks, who won consecutive games for the first time since early November.

Williams led Dallas with 18 points. Pachulia had 11 points and 17 rebounds, the 13th double-double for the first-year Maverick who played eight seasons with the Hawks.

Wes Matthews scored 17 points, Dwight Powell had 14 and Dirk Nowitzki added 13. Nowitzki was 1 for 8 on 3-pointers and didn't score in the fourth quarter while playing 9 minutes.

"It was just one of those nights," Matthews said. "I wouldn't necessarily say it was their defense."


After the game, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban cited what he said has been a season-long trend by officials not to call defensive 3-second violations. Cuban said the team has reported it to the NBA office but added it wasn't an issue in Wednesday's game.

"The league sent out a memo that `defensive 3' was a point of emphasis," Cuban said. "Somewhere underneath them, the decision has been made. It was not just obvious; it was blatant."


Dallas entered averaging 8.4 offensive rebounds per game, last in the NBA, but grabbed a season-high 20 -- seven by Pachulia. That helped the Mavericks to a 17-9 edge in second-chance points.

"But down the stretch, we got some key rebounds and executed," Millsap said.


Chandler Parsons, still on a minutes restriction following offseason knee surgery, became Dallas' sixth man last week in part to be available in the fourth quarter. He played 3 minutes in the period and wasn't on the floor with the Mavericks down three in the closing seconds.

Carlisle said the perimeter players in the game then -- Williams, Matthews and Raymond Felton -- were simply playing better than Parsons, who scored five points on 2-for-9 shooting in 21 minutes.


Hawks: Atlanta played the first half of a back-to-back after having four days off. ... Tiago Splitter, who had been sidelined with a sore hip, played 12 minutes and had four points and three rebounds after missing Atlanta's previous seven games.

Mavericks: Dallas began a stretch with seven of 10 games at home after playing 10 of 13 on the road. ... J.J. Barea played 10 minutes after missing Dallas' previous six games with a sprained ankle. He went scoreless, shooting 0 for 6 from the floor.


Hawks: At Oklahoma City on Thursday night.

Mavericks: Home against Washington on Saturday night.