Mavs handle Utah; still chasing San Antonio
Dallas, TX (Sports Network) – Dirk Nowitzki had 22 points and seven rebounds
to lead the Dallas Mavericks to a 111-95 win over the Utah Jazz at American
Jason Terry added 16 points and six assists and Josh Howard had 18 points for
the Mavericks, who remain only 1 1/2 games behind San Antonio for the top spot
in the Western Conference.
Jerry Stackhouse scored 20 points and Erick Dampier had 13 points and 12
boards for Dallas, which ended a two-game slide and can at best only tie the
Spurs for the best record in the conference.
Carlos Boozer had 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Jazz, who were eliminated
from the Western Conference playoff race due to their loss and Sacramento’s
win against the Hornets on Sunday.
Mehmet Okur added 17 points and Deron Williams scored 16 and dished out nine
assists for Utah, which had a five-game winning streak halted.
The Mavs’ 33-24 lead after one quarter was cut to 38-35 early in the second
when Devin Brown drained a three-pointer 3 1/2 minutes into the stanza.
However, Dallas answered with a 12-2 surge to forge ahead 50-37 when Adrian
Griffin hit a pair of free throws and the Mavs used that to coast into the
break with a 56-48 advantage.
Utah cut the deficit to 65-58 after Andrei Kirilenko hit 1-of-2 free throws 3
1/2 minutes into the half, but Nowitzki and Terry spearheaded an 11-2 run that
began to give Dallas its cushion. Nowitzki scored the first five points of the
run and Terry hit a pair of threes to cap it for a 76-60 lead.
Dallas later scored 12 of the final 15 points of the third to carry a 92-72
cushion into the fourth.
“We set the tone early,” said Stackhouse. We were able to come out
defensively and get some stops.”
The final quarter was purely academic as the Mavericks never let the Jazz
back into the game.
“There were really a lot of things we didn’t do well,” said Williams. “We
didn’t rebound well, they out hustled us. They wanted the game more than us.”
Dallas can clinch the top spot if the Spurs lose their remaining two games and
it wins its final contest. That would leave the teams tied and since the
season series was tied at 2-2, the next tiebreaker for teams within the same
division is divisional winning percentage, which would belong to Dallas.
The Mavs tied a franchise record with their 60th win this season. The 2002-03
squad also had 60 wins.
Kirilenko left the game at the end of the third quarter with back spasms and
did not return…Dallas Marquis Daniels left the game and did not return due
to sore left hamstring…Nowitzki and Utah’s Kris Humphries were each hit
with a technical foul less than 1 1/2 minutes remaining elapsed in the game
after an altercation following a Humphries foul on Nowitzki. Utah head coach
Jerry Sloan was also hit with a technical for arguing with officials during
regarding the calls.