Vince Carter had 19 points and the Toronto Raptors beat the Mavericks 77-71 Thursday night, Dallas' lowest-scoring game in nearly six years.
Dirk Nowitzki led Dallas with 27 points, but had just four in the second half. It was the fewest points the Mavericks have scored
in a game since they were held to 67 in a loss to the New York
Knicks on Dec. 22, 1997. The Mavericks came into Thursday averaging
101.6 points per game.
"If you had of told me we'd hold them to 77 points and we'd
lose I would have said you're crazy," Nowitzki said. "Seventy-one
points with our high-powered offense is bad. It shows there is no
rhythm to our offense, there is no flow. We're not shooting the
ball well. We're just struggling."
Antoine Walker had 14 points and 17 rebounds for the Mavericks, but also committed nine turnovers. Michael Finley went 4-for-13 from the field for 11 points, and Antawn Jamison went 1-for-6 for just two points.
Dallas was without point guard Steve Nash, who sat out with a strained left shoulder. He injured the shoulder in Wednesday's 100-90 loss to Washington.
"We have a lot of unbelievable talent on this team. We should
be able to win a game without him," Nowitzki said.
Carter guarded Nowitzki in the fourth quarter, and the Raptors
doubled-teamed him close to the basket.
"We didn't give him any easy shots. In the fourth quarter I
said 'Let me try him,'" Carter said.
Antonio Davis had 13 points and 12 rebounds, and Morris Peterson added 12 points for the Raptors, who rebounded from the lowest-scoring game in their franchise history last Saturday when Minnesota beat them 73-56.
"Let's be fair to them, they're playing without Steve Nash,
they're playing the second night of a back-to-back," Toronto coach
Kevin O'Neill said. "We just hung around long enough to give
ourselves a chance to win and we did that by playing great
Carter's put-back dunk gave Toronto a 70-67 lead with 4:25 left,
but Nowitzki followed with two free throws.
Toronto's Milt Palacio then had a fast-break layup, but Finley made two free throws to cut the lead to one with 1:02 left.
Carter fed Peterson for a layup to give Toronto a 74-71 lead.
After Walker missed a 3-pointer, Carter missed two free throws
with 21 seconds left.
Tony Delk's inbounds pass deflected off Nowitzki's hands, and Carter picked it up. He was fouled before making one of two free throw attempts for a 75-71 lead.
"It slipped through my hands, but it should have never got to
that point," Nowitzki said.
After Walker missed a long jumper, Peterson made two free throws
with 12 seconds left to seal the win.
Nowitzki scored eight points in the last two minutes of the
first half when the Mavericks cut an early Toronto lead to two. Rookie Chris Bosh guarded Nowitzki during his scoring spurt.
Nowitzki went 1-for-9 from the field for just nine points
Game Notes: Nash ended a streak of 195 consecutive games played. He
left Wednesday's loss against Washington in the first quarter after
partially dislocating his shoulder. ... Carter is engaged to the
sister of Jamison's wife. Carter and Jamison attended North
Carolina together and were traded for each other on draft day. ...
Walker had five turnovers in the first quarter. ... Nash said he'd
like to play for the Raptors if he doesn't re-sign with Dallas this
summer. He said he'll opt out of his current contract.
The NBA's Rookie of the Year won't be playing internationally for the United States, instead remains loyal to his Dominican roots.
Within just a few hours of Thursday night's NBA draft, the Oklahoma City Thunder are reportedly shopping Serge Ibaka.
LeBron James made it official Thursday, saying he will not play in this summer's Olympics. Carmelo Anthony, DeAndre Jordan, Jimmy Butler and Klay Thompson are among the players who will.