- Mike Mazzeo, ESPN Staff Writer
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WHAT IT MEANS: The New Jersey Nets’ chances of winning three straight games for the first time since Jan. 31-Feb. 7, 2009, were washed away with one unfriendly roll on the rim. Dirk Nowitzki, who was just 7-for-24 from the field, got a fadeaway jumper to fall with six seconds left. And it proved to be the difference in an 87-86 Dallas Mavericks' win on Saturday night over the resilient Nets at the Prudential Center.
New Jersey, which fell to 5-2 with owner Mikhail Prohkorov in attendance, is still stuck on 12 wins. The Nets could've won, but they botched their final possession badly and it resulted in Jordan Farmar not being able to get his desperation attempt off in time. Nowitzki finished with 24 points to lead the Mavericks (28-15).
STAR OF THE GAME: Brook Lopez. The 22-year-old center did his usual strong work offensively, finishing with a team-high 24 points on 10-for-15 shooting despite having to sit for much of the third quarter in foul trouble. He only grabbed six rebounds, but that’s typical for Lopez at this point of the season. He played 29 minutes.
TURNING POINT: The Nets trailed 82-75 with 4:43 remaining, but Lopez sparked an 8-0 run with five consecutive points. Sasha Vujacic capped the burst with a 3 to make it 83-82 with 2:33 left. Jose Juan Barea hit a jumper to put Dallas back in front, but Lopez responded with a a pair of free throws with 1:31 remaining that gave the Nets the lead. Devin Harris pushed the New Jersey advantage to 86-84 by splitting a pair at the stripe. Tyson Chandler had a chance to tie it, but he only made one of two attempts at the line. Harris airballed a jumper on the Nets' ensuing possession, setting up Nowitizki's heroics.
HUG IT OUT: Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was invited into Prohkorov’s luxury suite. No word on what the two billionaires discussed -- or if there was any trash-talking involved.
KIDD RETURNS: Former Nets great Jason Kidd returned once again. He talked a lot about Carmelo Anthony and the MeloDrama with the media pregame, then went out and had five points, eight assists and five rebounds in 34 minutes.
CELEB SUMMIT: At the end of the third quarter, Kim Kardashian and "Jersey Shore" star Snooki met at midcourt. It was like a dream come true for the paparazzi, who proceeded to snap photos of the duo. The fans in attendance also seemed enamored with the scene.
UP NEXT: The Nets wrap up their five-game homestand with games against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday and the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday.