The NBA roundup …
DALLAS ó With the game slipping away against one of the NBAís worst teams, the Dallas Mavericks turned to their reliable fourth-quarter duo of Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry.
Nowitzki had 30 points and 11 rebounds, Terry contributed 18 points, and the Mavericks rallied down the stretch for a 104-96 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday night, giving Dallas 50 wins for the 11th straight season.
Nowitzki and Terry combined for 19 points in the final quarter, both going 4 for 7 from the field, to help the Mavs win for the third time in four games.
ěDirk said during a timeout, ëWe canít lose this one,íî Terry said.
On just about every fourth-quarter possession, coach Rick Carlisle called for the pick-and-roll with Nowitzki and Terry. Dallas finished with an 11-2 run over the final 2:38.
ěItís the key to our success late in games, itís no secret, if itís a close game late in the fourth quarter, Coach is going to ring up our numbers and we need to answer,î Terry said. ěWe work extremely hard on (the pick-and-roll) in practice, and during these types of games our team needs us and thatís what clutch players do by coming up big when the team needs them most.î
Shawn Marion added 17 points, Peja Stojakovic had 16, and Tyson Chandler came up with nine points and 10 rebounds for Dallas.
Anthony Randolph had a career-high 31 points with 11 rebounds for the Timberwolves, whoíve lost their last five games and are without injured All-Star forward Kevin Love.
Randolph made his first start of the season in place of Love. Randolph, acquired from the Knicks in a three-team trade on Feb. 22, had a 23-point first half, 17 in the second quarter.
ěWeíre missing a huge part of our team without Kevin being here,î said Randolph. ěI think if he was here, we definitely would have won the game.î
Dallas was in front by as many as eight in the third quarter, but the Timberwolves came back to grab a 95-93 lead with 3:17 to play on Wayne Ellingtonís 22-footer.
Chandlerís three-point play with 2:38 left put Dallas back in front for good, 96-95.
Hornets 121, Jazz 117 (OT)
SALT LAKE CITY ó Emeka Okafor banked in a 20-footer at the regulation buzzer to force overtime, and reserve Aaron Gray scored six points in the extra period to lead the New Orleans Hornets to a 121-117 victory over the short-handed Utah Jazz on Thursday night.
David West scored 29 points for the Hornets before being taken off in a wheelchair holding his head and grimacing in pain after going down hard after a powerful dunk that tied the game at 103.
Paul Millsap hit two free throws to put the Jazz ahead 105-103 with 1.3 seconds to go, but Okafor, who had subbed back in when West was injured, managed to get off the game-tying shot.
Millsap had 33 points to lead the Jazz, who have dropped four straight.
Chris Paul scored five of his 24 points in overtime for the Hornets, and Trevor Ariza added 14, including a 3-pointer in the extra period.
While the Jazz were coming off an 0-3 road trip, the Hornets hadnít played since Saturday, and coach Monty Williams used the time to hold some closed-door practices.
ěWe tried to create a bunker mentality, playoff mentality,î Williams said of the practice sessions. ěSome things were said in practices that I didnít want anybody else to hear. Thatís just the way itís got to be for us.î
The Hornets were coming off an 89-85 loss to Boston, playing what Williams called the most undisciplined second half theyíve had all year.
ěGuys watched the film, took it to heart,î Williams said. ěWe had some spirited practices this past week. It was definitely what we needed.î
The Hornets were starting a three-game Western trip just a 1/2-game ahead of eighth-place Memphis in the Western Conference playoff race. They also face Phoenix and the Los Angeles Lakers on the trip.
ěItís really huge for us to get off to a good start,î Williams said.
Williams knows there are doubters after the Hornets finished 37-45 last season and missed the playoffs for the first time in three years.
ěIím sure (the players) are hearing all the stuff people are saying and writing about our team,î said Williams, in his first season as coach. ěThe best thing is we control our destiny. We have no one to blame but ourselves.î
The Jazz entered Thursday four games behind eighth-place Memphis with 10 to go. In mid-January, they were as many as 14 games over .500.
Despite being without starters Andrei Kirilenko and Devin Harris, they continued to play spirited ball.
They trailed by five after Jarrett Jackís 3-pointer with 8:47 remaining but fought back, with Earl Watson sinking a pair of 3-pointers to tie it at 89, then Millsap converted a three-point play for a 92-91 Jazz lead with 5:24 left.
The Hornets surged ahead 98-92 on Paulís running jumper, but the Jazz came back again.
Notes: Mehmet Okur, who will miss the rest of the season because of recurring problems with his back and Achillesí, said he had no thoughts of retiring after the trying year. ěI should be OK. Iím not that old. Iím just 32. Itís going to be a huge summer for me,î Okur said of strengthening his left leg and his back. He admitted that he probably tried to rush back too soon from the Achillesí injury because he was ěhungryî to play basketball after missing 10 months. … Former Butler star Gordon Hayward planned to TiVo Thursday nightís Butler-Wisconsin game. He also will cheer for Arizona on Friday against Duke as he has a promotion with Subway to buy 5,555 Meatball Madness subs if a No. 5 seed wins it all.
The Associated Press