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Mavs survive Sacramento royal flush

Posted: Monday, March 17, 2003

SACRAMENTO, Calif. Steve Nash saved the Dallas Mavericks from getting swept in the season series by one of their primary tormenters.

The All-Star point guard hit a game-tying 3-pointer with 2.5 seconds left in regulation, then scored 12 points in overtime as Dallas defeated the Sacramento Kings 129-123 Sunday.

Nash finished with 27 points and 10 assists as the Mavericks got their league-high 50th victory of the season and one of the most important wins of their impressive campaign.

Dirk Nowitzki had 34 points and 18 rebounds, and Michael Finley scored 21 points as the Mavericks displayed all of the poise and execution many doubted they could produce against the veteran Kings.

The Mavericks were ahead all afternoon until midway through the fourth quarter, when Sacramento scored 12 straight points and brought the Arco Arena crowd to a frenzy.

Mike Bibby's jumper with 14 seconds left in regulation gave a three-point lead to the Kings. But after Nash missed his first 3-point attempt, Finley got the rebound and found Nash in the corner for the game-tying 3-pointer a shot that showed Dallas had the toughness to survive in the NBA's loudest road arena.

In overtime, Nash made four straight field goals for Dallas including two more 3-pointers as the Mavericks ran away from the Kings, whose eight-game home winning streak was snapped.

Peja Stojakovic scored 30 points for the Kings, who were going after their first season sweep of Dallas since 1997-98. Chris Webber had 24 points just seven after halftime along with 15 rebounds and nine assists.

The Mavericks have the NBA's best record and high hopes for the postseason, but many wondered if Sacramento would be a dead-end stop on Dallas' postseason path just as it was last season when the Kings routed the Mavs in five games.

All told, 13 players scored in double figures. Nowitzki hit six 3-pointers, while Stojakovic had five.

It still doesn't have the enmity of a true rivalry, but Sacramento's clashes with Dallas in recent years have been generally well-played and exciting. The Kings won twice in Dallas earlier this season on late baskets by Keon Clark, while Sacramento was outstanding in its blowout victory in the Mavericks' earlier trip to Arco Arena.

Nowitzki left alone on the perimeter by the pick-and-roll made five 3-pointers in less than five minutes during the first half, but Sacramento stayed close with nine first-half points from Hedo Turkoglu, who has lost significant playing time this season to Jim Jackson.

The Kings took their first lead since the opening minutes on consecutive fast-break layups by Bibby and Bobby Jackson in the fourth.

Webber put Sacramento ahead on a hook shot with 56 seconds left, and Bibby hit an off-balance jumper that set up Nash's tying shot from the corner. Bobby Jackson missed a long 3-pointer at the end of regulation.

76ers 92, Nets 87

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. Allen Iverson hit a go-ahead layup with just over a minute remaining, and the Philadelphia 76ers moved within a half-game of first place in the Atlantic Division with a 92-87 victory over the New Jersey Nets on Sunday.

Iverson finished with 31 points and the 76ers held the Nets without a basket for the final 8:56 in winning for the 14th time in 16 games since the All-Star break.

Cavaliers 122, Jazz 95

CLEVELAND Ricky Davis scored 28 points, a career-high 12 assists and nine rebounds as the Cleveland Cavaliers snapped a seven-game losing streak.

After the Jazz scored with six seconds left, Davis took an inbounds pass and was ready to attempt a shot at the wrong basket to get his 10th rebound. Utah's DeShawn Stevenson wrapped his arms around Davis before the attempt and was whistled for a foul. Davis made the two free throws to complete the scoring.

Timberwolves 111, Trail Blazers 95

MINNEAPOLIS Kevin Garnett had his fifth triple-double of the season and Wally Szczerbiak scored 20 points.

Garnett finished with 17 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for the Timberwolves, who had lost their previous two games.

Minnesota gained ground on the Blazers for the fourth playoff spot in the Western Conference and home-court advantage. Portland entered the game with a 1 1/2-game lead on the Timberwolves.

Minnesota's Joe Smith, who started in place of injured Rasho Nesterovic, scored 12 points on 6-for-10 shooting. Nesterovic missed his first game of the season after spraining his right ankle in Friday's loss to the Lakers.

Grizzlies 124, Hawks 92

MEMPHIS, Tenn. Pau Gasol and Shane Battier scored 22 points each as Grizzlies set franchise records with their sixth straight win and their 24th victory of the season.

Battier's 22 points were a season high, while Stromile Swift had his sixth straight double-double with 12 points and 16 rebounds.

Lorenzen Wright, who returned after missing seven games because of the death of his infant daughter, had 21 points. Wesley Person added 14 and Jason Williams had 11 points and nine assists.

Knicks 120, Bucks 111

NEW YORK Allan Houston scored 50 points, reaching that number with the crowd on its feet in the closing seconds, as the New York Knicks handed the Milwaukee Bucks their fourth straight loss.

Houston's fourth career game with at least 40 points snapped New York's two-game losing streak and moved the Knicks a game closer to one of the teams they are chasing for the eighth playoff spot in the East.

Houston, scoring against everyone Milwaukee tried to guard him with, had 10 straight as the Knicks pulled away including New York's first seven points of the fourth quarter. Houston reached 50 for the second time this season; he had 53 last month against the Lakers.

Spurs 108, Bulls 97

SAN ANTONIO Tony Parker scored 25 points, Tim Duncan added 22 and San Antonio won its sixth in a row.

Jamal Crawford scored 13 points, including 3-for-3 on 3-pointers, in the third period as the Bulls trimmed San Antonio's 12-point halftime lead to 76-73 with a quarter to play.

Steve Kerr connected on 3-pointers on consecutive possessions early in the fourth, and Steve Smith followed with another 3-pointer to build San Antonio's lead to 89-80 with nine minutes left. A three-point play by Duncan made it a 13-point margin with 7:31 left.

Rockets 85, Suns 75

HOUSTON Yao Ming scored 20 points as the Houston Rockets took the season series 3-1 and earned the tiebreaker between the two teams jockeying for eighth place in the West.

The Rockets improved their longest winning streak since the 1999-2000 season to five games. The Suns have lost three of four.

Houston rode a near-perfect second quarter to a 55-27 halftime lead, then held off a rally. Led by their guard tandem of Stephon Marbury and Anfernee Hardaway, the Suns closed the third quarter with an 18-3 run to whittle Houston's lead to nine.

SuperSonics 92, Nuggets 84

DENVER Rashard Lewis scored 24 points and Ray Allen 20, and the Seattle SuperSonics used an 8-0 run in the fourth quarter to hold off the Nuggets

Juwan Howard had 22 points and eight rebounds for Denver.

Seattle, which led by 13 points early in the third quarter, saw its lead whittled to one midway through the final period as Juwan Howard's 16-foot jumper, which beat the shot clock, cut the deficit to 76-75 with 6:37 left.

Brent Barry's 3-pointer then ignited the eight-point flurry. Barry finished with 14 points and nine assists, and Vladimir Radmanovic came off the bench to score 12 all in the first half

Clippers 111, Raptors 110

LOS ANGELES Lamar Odom scored 26 points, including a 17-footer with 2.3 seconds remaining.

Eric Piatkowski had 15 points off the bench, including a couple of clutch 3-pointers down the stretch, improving the Clippers' record to 2-6 since Dennis Johnson replaced Alvin Gentry as head coach on March 3.

Vince Carter scored 28 for the Raptors but missed a 20-footer just before the final buzzer. Antonio Davis had 22 and Morris Peterson added 20.



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