OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - The Dallas Mavericks are moving up in the Western Conference, just in time to make another Texas-sized showdown even bigger.
Dirk Nowitzki had 34 points and 13 rebounds, and the Mavericks rallied from 18 points down to beat the Golden State Warriors 112-106 on Wednesday night.
The victory moved Dallas (48-20) into a tie with the Los Angeles Lakers for second place in the Western Conference, setting up a home matchup against the NBA-best and rival San Antonio Spurs on Friday night.
``It's tremendous. Everybody's going to talk about how it's just another game. Not for this team. Not for us,' Mavericks forward Jason Terry said of the Spurs. ``We've struggled since the break against teams that are right there in contention for championships. It's a measuring stick for us. How far have we come? They're playing great.
``So it's going to be on us to see what we can do.'
Terry finished with 19 points and Rodrigue Beaubois had 18 to help the Mavericks score 15 consecutive points in the fourth quarter and pull away for the victory.
Monta Ellis had 26 points and 11 assists, and David Lee scored 22 in another disappointing defeat for a Warriors team seemingly headed for the draft lottery. They built a big lead with an incredible shooting start but couldn't keep pace late.
``It was tough. We should have had that game. I'll take the blame,' Ellis said. ``Made some mistakes at the end, turned the ball over, I didn't get the shots that I needed to. I waited too late to get everyone involved.'
Dallas came back from big deficits over and over in this one.
It was big turnaround from a night earlier, when the Mavericks lost at Portland despite shooting 59 percent from the floor. They withstood everything Golden State threw at them offensively, including one final stand.
Ellis and Dorell Wright hit consecutive 3-pointers to put the Warriors ahead 96-89 about halfway through the fourth quarter. Then it all fell apart.
Jason Kidd made a 3-pointer. Beaubois and Terry followed with easy layups. And Nowitzki, just as he's done so many times, scored the final six points in a 15-0 Dallas run - going ahead 104-96 on a crisp and cool jumper to seal it.
``Well, we're never going to panic but we certainly weren't happy,' Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. ``When something like that happens you've got to stick together and get motivated, and that's what our guys did.'
In what has historically been a high-scoring matchup, the Warriors made 15 of their first 17 shots to take a 32-14 lead late in the first quarter. It was as strong an offensive display as they've shown all season, and it still wasn't enough to guarantee a runaway.
The slow-footed Mavericks twice sliced the lead under double digits in the second quarter, despite sloppy defense and erratic shooting that led to a poor transition game. All it took to come back was the smallest amount of defense and a little shooting spark.
Dallas did just enough of both.
By the time the halftime buzzer sounded, a once-commanding Warriors lead was whittled down to six. The Mavericks took their first lead, 73-72, on Nowitzki's free throws with 3:12 left in the third quarter and never looked back.
``We probably got a little stagnant,' Warriors coach Keith Smart said. ``I think it was just a combination of not getting what we wanted at the time that we wanted it.'
NOTES: Ellis had seven assists in the first quarter, the most for any Golden State player in any quarter this season. ... Warriors C Andris Biedrins sprained his left ankle in the third quarter and did not return. The team said he will be evaluated Thursday. ... Dallas' Brendan Haywood (lower back stifness) did not play. ... Golden State hosted its first-ever ``Bollywood Night.' Festivities included traditional Indian dancing, music, food and attire before the game and during timeouts.
The Associated Press News Service
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