Dallas, TX (Sports Network) – Jason Terry scored only 14 points, but his three-pointer with 7.6 seconds left was the dagger that prevented a Utah comeback, as Dallas won its 12th straight game, a 103-97 victory over the Jazz.
Dirk Nowitzki posted 31 points and 15 rebounds on 10-of-12 shooting for the Mavericks, who nearly wasted a 25-point lead before improving to 19-4, the second best-record in the NBA.
Instead, the resilient Mavs won their seventh straight at home with help from DeShawn Stevenson’s season-high 17 points and Caron Butler’s 16.
“I’m happy that we won,” said Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle. “I love that we were able to get off to that kind of a hot start. Those things never hold up…Is it perfect? No. But I think sometimes there are those types of games where you just lose leads.”
Deron Williams provided a season-high 34 points for the Jazz, who had their six-game road win streak snapped. Paul Millsap scored 16 points, while Ronnie Price had 14 in defeat.
Dallas appeared to put the game away early, scoring 29 of the contest’s first 33 points. The Mavs made 11 of their first 12 shots, including seven three- pointers, and Butler’s three-pointer with five minutes left capped the impressive start.
“They hit their first, what — eight, nine shots?” Williams asked. “Our defense wasn’t as good as it should have been. A lot of their shots were tough shots, but they came out with a lot more energy than us. It felt like they just wanted to blow us out of the game early.”
Utah cut 10 points off its deficit before the first quarter ended and headed into the second trailing, 34-19, before facing a 54-42 halftime deficit.
The Jazz still faced an 11-point hole at 81-70 after three quarters, but made a push in the fourth.
Jose Juan Barea’s free throw opened the fourth quarter for Dallas before Utah went on an 12-2 burst; Francisco Elson’s technical free throw with 6:30 left made it an 84-81 game.
A Nowitzki free throw pushed the Mavs’ lead back to five before a Millsap basket and Williams three-point play tied the game, 89-89, with 4 1/2 minutes to play.
Dallas, though, never allowed Utah to pull in front, answering with a pair of Nowitzki free throws and a Terry bucket to increase the margin to four. Price made two three-pointers for the Jazz before and after a Terry three to slice the deficit to one, but Nowitzki’s three-point play made it a two-possession game at 99-95 with 2:19 left.
Al Jefferson kept the Jazz within striking distance with a putback layup with 29.9 seconds showing, but Dallas drained the clock, and Terry’s make from beyond the arc sealed the outcome.
Utah has lost 15 of its last 18 games in Dallas…The Mavs’ longest win streak in franchise history is 17…Dallas is 12-0 this season when scoring 100 or more points…The Mavs lead the season series, 2-0…Nowitzki tied a season- high in rebounds.