NBA Game Summary - Cleveland at Dallas
(Tuesday, March 14th)
Final Score: Dallas 91, Cleveland 87
Dallas, TX (Sports Network) - Dirk Nowitzki poured in 30 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and dished out six assists, as the Dallas Mavericks overcame a 19- point deficit to defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers, 91-87, at American Airlines Center.
Jason Terry added 20 points and Marquis Daniels contributed 17, as Dallas won for the fourth time in five games. The Mavericks finished their home schedule versus the Eastern Conference at 15-0 without four players. Guard Devin Harris and forwards Adrian Griffin, Josh Howard and Keith Van Horn did not play, leaving Dallas with a thin bench.
LeBron James scored a game-high 36 points and grabbed 12 rebounds while Zydrunas Ilgauskas added 17 points and 13 rebounds for Cleveland, which dropped its third straight game. Ronald Murray contributed 12 points in the loss.
The Mavericks have been the NBA's comeback kids this season, storming to victory from at least 17 points down for the seventh time.
"I thought this was a gutsy performance by our team," Dallas head coach Avery Johnson said. "Cleveland really jumped out on us and put us in a big hole and our team responded in the second half. Our third quarter defense was pretty special."
The Cavaliers opened a 55-36 lead on James' jumper with 11:03 left in the third period and appeared on their way to a much-needed victory.
Dallas slowly worked its way back into the game, scoring nine straight points during one stretch to get within 57-49. Daniels scored six of the points and Nowitzki's jumper capped the scoring stretch with 5:19 left in the third stanza.
James scored six of Cleveland's eight third-quarter points, a testament to Dallas' renewed emphasis on defense. The eight points were the fewest ever allowed by Dallas in a quarter.
The Mavericks closed the third stanza on a 25-6 run to square the contest at 61-61.
With the momentum clearly in Dallas' corner, Nowitzki scored six of eight points during the early stages of the fourth period to open a 70-63 edge.
Cleveland got back within two, 76-74, as James continued to carry the club on his shoulders with a contested jumper. Nowitzki then drained a fadeaway jumper and Terry's three-pointer with 3:03 left extended the advantage to 81-74.
Trailing 85-78, the Cavs turned to their superstar and James scored four quick points to make the score 85-82 with 20 ticks remaining. Terry made 1-of-2 from the stripe at the other end and James drove the lane for a layup with 15 ticks on the clock.
Darrell Armstrong drained two free throws to make it a two-possession game and James misfired on the other end to seal the Cavs' fate.
"Two games in a row we played a playoff opponent in their building, we got up, they stepped it up, and we didn't know how to respond," said Cleveland head coach Mike Brown. "Bottom line. That's it."
Dallas improved to 29-5 at home this season and has won 18 of its last 19 contests at American Airlines Center...With the victory, Dallas and San Antonio remained tied atop the Southwest Division and deadlocked for the top spot overall in the Western Conference...Cleveland fell to 14-19 as the visitor this season.
03/15 01:32:18 ET