NBA Game Summary - Cleveland at Dallas
(Sunday, December 20th)
Final Score: Dallas 102, Cleveland 95
Dallas, TX (Sports Network) - Tim Thomas started in place of an injured Dirk Nowitzki and scored 22 points to lead Dallas in a 102-95 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Nowitzki missed the game due to a sore right elbow. He was hurt in Friday night's game against Houston during a collision with Rockets forward Carl Landry.
Thomas also had seven rebounds as the Mavericks won for the sixth time in seven games. Jason terry scored 19 points off the bench while two other reserves - Josh Howard and Drew Gooden, chipped in 14 and 12 points, respectively.
"With Dirk being out coach gave me the nod as far as being in the starting lineup and I just wanted to be aggressive with the minutes I was given tonight," Thomas said.
Jason Kidd logged 10 points and 11 assists in the victory as the Mavs avenged a 111-95 loss in Cleveland earlier this season.
"Everyone in this locker room knew what this game meant to us," Terry said. "We went up there off of a back-to-back and they beat us pretty bad and it was embarrassing the way we lost so tonight we knew we needed to get this game and we were determined and strong willed defensively in the second half."
LeBron James, playing in his 500th career regular season game, scored 25 for the Cavaliers, who had a five-game winning streak snapped. This was the start of a rough four-game road trip for Cleveland, which will face Phoenix and Sacramento before concluding the swing on Christmas Day with a mammoth matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers.
"That's why they're one of the best teams in the West, one of the best teams in the league," James said regarding the Mavs missing Nowitzki. "They've got guys even without Dirk that are All Stars on their team. Josh Howard and J- Kidd and Jason Terry, and the rest of those guys, Tim Thomas played great tonight. Guys stepped up."
Daniel Gibson's layup had the Cavs within 84-83 with 7:08 remaining, but James missed a three-pointer that would have given Cleveland the lead.
Erick Dampier countered with a layup, Thomas hit a pair of foul shots and Shawn Marion finished the flurry with a jumper for a seven-point advantage with 4 1/2 minutes left. The difference grew to nine at 96-87 on a Terry three-pointer with 2:38 to go.
Cleveland held a 26-25 edge after the first quarter, but was behind, 52-50, at the half. Dallas led by as many as 12 early in the third before the Cavs rallied and were within 73-67 moving to the fourth.
Cleveland had won the previous four meetings...Dampier had eight points and 10 rebounds for Dallas, which also received 12 points and eight boards from Marion...The Mavs host Portland on Tuesday...Anderson Varejao had 13 points and Anthony Parker 12 for the Cavs...Shaquille O'Neal finished with just five points and eight boards for Cleveland.
12/20 22:51:19 ET