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Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Mavs 108, Jazz 101

By Bryan Gutierrez
Special to ESPNDallas.com


The Dallas Mavericks put an end to a three-game road losing streak with a much-needed 108-101 win over the Utah Jazz.

How it happened: Mavs coach Rick Carlisle loves to say there are circle-the-wagons games. After suffering a disappointing loss to the Golden State Warriors, the game against the Utah Jazz represented another one of those games. The first three quarters the two teams tied the game 14 times and exchanged leads 16 lead changes.

For the longest time, it appeared that the Mavs weren't going to be able to shake the Jazz. A strong surge with less than nine minutes left allowed the Mavericks to gain enough traction to secure the victory.

On the night he passed John Havlicek for 12th place on the all-time scoring list, Dirk Nowitzki got going early. After not playing with authority in the game against Golden State, Nowitzki came out aggressive against Utah as he scored 10 of Dallas' first 14 points. It was the same story as the game continued. The Jazz simply didn't have an answer for Nowitzki. He ended the night with 31 points on 12-of-14 shooting.

Monta Ellis struggled from the field early as he missed seven of his first eight shots, but he found a groove late in the third quarter as he hit three straight. With his shooting woes behind him, Ellis hit five of his final seven shots. Ellis played the role of facilitator early, finishing with 16 points and a team-high 11 assists.

After exiting after only seven minutes against Golden State because of a sore right Achilles, Devin Harris played with the tenacity that the team saw in his previous two games before the setback. Closing minutes were necessary for Harris, but he provided a huge spark off the bench with 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting.

What it means: Dallas has three days off before its next road game in a broken-up trip. It will be the final road game for quite a while as the Mavs will began a season-high eight-game homestand against the Boston Celtics on March 17. It won't be easy in the final game of the trip as they will take on the Oklahoma City Thunder, which has won seven straight and nine of the past 10 regular-season meetings with Dallas. The Mavericks' most recent win over the Thunder in the regular season came at Dallas on Jan. 2, 2012. The Mavericks have dropped five straight road meetings with the Thunder.

Play of the game: An 11-2 burst in the fourth quarter was capped off by Devin Harris. Off a Gordon Hayward missed 3-point shot, Nowitzki grabbed the rebound and threw an outlet pass to Harris, who leaked out. Harris drove to the rim and finished while taking contact from Diante Garrett. He got the layup and foul call, resulting in a six-point swing to give the Mavericks a 91-85 lead.

Stat of the night: The Mavericks are now 5-0 on the second night of back-to-back road games this season. The wins came against Milwaukee and Orlando back in November and Indiana and Detroit in February.