Saturday, March 3, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Mavs 102, Jazz 96
By Tim MacMahon
How it happened: A superstar performance by Dirk Nowitzki and signs of life from Lamar Odom made a sweet combination for the Mavs.
Yet the Mavs still had to sweat out the win over the Utah Jazz.
Nowitzki scored a season-high 40 points in 29 minutes. He lit up the Jazz in remarkably efficient fashion, hitting 14 of 21 shots from the floor and nine of 10 from the line.
Odom made a significant contribution in his return from a self-imposed four-game, 10-day sabbatical. After a lackadaisical first half, Odom provided the kind of pants-on-fire effort coach Rick Carlisle wanted from him.
Odom finished with nine points, five rebounds, three assists and three blocks in 18 minutes. That included a six-minute stint in the third quarter when he stuffed the box score with five points, four rebounds, two assists and a block, sparking a run that pushed the Mavs’ lead from nine to 19 points.
That lead swelled to 23 during the fourth quarter, but the Jazz pulled within five with less than two minutes remaining. Nowitzki made sure the Jazz didn’t pull off a stunning comeback, scoring 10 points in the final six minutes.
What it means: The Mavs stopped the bleeding, snapping their first four-game losing streak of the season. They’ll get a day off before making the quick trip to Oklahoma City to begin a five-games-in-six nights stretch.
Bold play of the game: You know it’s a guy’s night when he jacks up a contested, off-balance 3-pointer that goes off the glass and in. That’s what happened for Nowitzki with 7:28 remaining in the third quarter. He also hit a 3 the next possession, giving him 24 of the Mavs’ last 33 points at that point and stretching the Dallas lead to a dozen.
Stat of the night: The Mavs are 22-11 when Odom plays and 0-5 without him.