DALLAS Playing with the desperation of a team facing elimination, even though they weren't, the Dallas Mavericks climbed back into their first-round series against the Sacramento Kings on Saturday night.
And it took an undrafted rookie to get them going.
Marquis Daniels shook, spun and shot his way to 11 of his 22 points during a third-quarter spurt that deflated the Kings and sent the Mavericks to a 104-79 victory in Game 3.
Dallas, down 2-1 in the series, has a chance to even it in Game 4 Monday night. Game 5 is in Sacramento on Thursday night.
''The Mavericks showed up tonight,'' coach Don Nelson said.
Nelson showed his sense of urgency by letting Steve Nash stay in to collect four fouls in the first half and hardly resting Dirk Nowitzki after he got two in the first eight minutes.
''We followed our game plan and made the adjustments that we thought would be good for us. We were good, but they weren't as good as they normally are.''
Mike Bibby and Chris Webber each scored 22 points for Sacramento, but the next-highest scorer was Peja Stojakovic with just seven. Vlade Divac had just one basket and Doug Christie missed his first eight shots, including three 1-footers, before finally scoring in garbage time.
The Kings are at their best when they're moving the ball, especially through their big men. But Webber and Divac had one assist each and Brad Miller had none, along with only five points. They had just 11 assists as a team and committed 26 turnovers three more than they had in the first two games combined.
''We got what we deserved,'' coach Rick Adelman said.
The Kings opened the game down 9-0, tied it at 33 and were within seven at halftime. They were still down only 11 midway through the third quarter, then fell apart, missing their last seven shots of the period. Sacramento wound up challenging their lowest point total of the season, missing it by two.
''They outplayed us and beat us in every category,'' Christie said.
The Mavs expected to get a lift merely by being at home, where they were a league-best 36-5. They needed a boost, too, because no NBA team has ever overcome an 0-3 deficit.
After a sluggish first half, Daniels helped break things open in the third quarter. The game turned into a rout with an 11-0 run that began with a wide-open 3-pointer by Nash.
Daniels opened the period with a 20-footer, then shook different defenders to swish two jumpers in the lane. He added a reverse layup in transition and followed with a three-point play on a fast break.
''I just wanted to be aggressive,'' Daniels said. ''Once I hit my first couple of shots, coach called for me to get more. With all the great shooters we have, they tend to leave me open to make a play.''
Daniels, who became a starter for the last 12 games of the regular season, was 10-of-20 and often ran the offense, easing the burden on Nash.
''We did more things through him tonight,'' Nelson said. ''He responded with an excellent game.''
Nowitzki scored 21 points and Michael Finley added 18, one shy of his total for the first two games. Nash had seven points, five rebounds and five assists in just 27 minutes. He also never got a fifth foul, much less a sixth.
Pistons 95, Bucks 85
MILWAUKEE The Detroit Pistons took back control of their playoff series with Milwaukee the way they know best with defense.
Detroit shut down the Bucks over the final four minutes Saturday for a 95-85 win and a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference playoff series.
The Pistons were expected to come out swinging after losing to Milwaukee on Wednesday. But they gave up 30 points in the first period and needed a 23-4 run at the start of the third period to take their first lead of the game.
Then the defense took over, holding Milwaukee to just a free throw over the final four minutes.
Ben Wallace, limited by foul trouble in the first half, had 13 points and 21 rebounds for Detroit. Chauncey Billups added 21 points.
Desmond Mason and Michael Redd each scored 19 points to lead Milwaukee.
Game 4 is Monday in Milwaukee.
Hornets 77, Heat 71
NEW ORLEANS Baron Davis, nursing a sprained right ankle, had a team-high 21 points, and New Orleans held Miami to 32.9 percent shooting to get back into the opening round playoff series.
The Heat lead the best-of-seven series 2-1. Game 4 is Tuesday night in New Orleans.
David Wesley shot 3-of-4 from 3-point range for 18 points, while Jamaal Magloire fought through constant double-teams for 12 points, including two free throws in the final minute that gave New Orleans a much-needed four-point cushion.
Caron Butler finished with 24 points and 15 rebounds, while Lamar Odom had 18.
Nuggets 107, Timberwolves 86
DENVER Carmelo Anthony scored 24 points and added 10 rebounds to lead the Nuggets in Game 3 of their best-of-seven series.
Playing at home in the postseason for the first time in nine years, the Nuggets earned their first home playoff victory in a decade and avoided going down 3-0 in the series.
They can even the series Tuesday in Denver.
Latrell Sprewell scored 25 points and Kevin Garnett added 24 for the Timberwolves, who fell behind by 17 points early in the game and only mounted one serious threat after that.
Marcus Camby had 16 rebounds and Denver had a 53-36 edge on the boards.
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