Final

Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 11/29

Game 1: Saturday, November 29th
Timberwolves88Final
Mavericks92
Game 2: Thursday, December 18th
Mavericks109Final
Timberwolves114
Game 3: Saturday, January 3rd
Timberwolves112Final
Mavericks119
Game 4: Wednesday, March 3rd
Mavericks97Final
Timberwolves121

    7:30 PM ET, January 3, 2004

    American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX

    1 2 3 4 T
    MIN 30 24 26 32112
    DAL 25 31 30 33119

    Top Performers

    Min: K. Garnett 27 Pts, 22 Reb, 7 Ast, 1 Stl

    Dal: D. Nowitzki 31 Pts, 9 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Stl

    Mavs break it open in the fourth

    DALLAS (AP) -- Dirk Nowitzki, Michael Finley and Steve Nash took care of the offense, and the Dallas Mavericks had one decent defensive spurt to defeat the Minnesota Timberwolves.

    Nowitzki equaled a season-high with 31 points and Finley scored 18 of his 24 in the second half to lead Dallas to a 119-112 victory Saturday night.

    Nowitzki, Finley and Steve Nash combined for 14 points in a 19-4 run to start the fourth quarter as Dallas opened a 21-point lead. Minnesota did not close within single digits until the final minute.

    "It was good to hit some shots," said Nash, who scored 20 points and handed out a season-high 13 assists. "But (Minnesota) was hot too. It was definitely a shootout."

    Dallas shot 51 percent from the field and made 12 of 24 3-pointers.

    Minnesota matched Dallas for most of the game until a six-minute drought in which it went 1-of-6 with four turnovers.

    "We have to do a better job of stopping these guys," Minnesota's Sam Cassell said. "We let them play too freely. We missed a couple of shots and they got some good looks in transition."

    Cassell scored a season-high 34 points for the Timberwolves. Kevin Garnett scored 27 points and grabbed 22 rebounds, Gary Trent had a season-high 22 points and Latrell Sprewell added 21.

    Dallas led 86-80 after three quarters, then shot 4-of-5 from 3-point range in the 19-4 spurt. Nowitzki made a pair of 3s and capped the run with three free throws.

    "It was really an exciting game and a big win for us," Dallas coach Don Nelson said. "It didn't look good for a long period of time, but we got out at the right time and got that big lead."

    Nowitzki has been hobbled all season with ankle injuries but scored more than 30 points for the second time in 10 days.

    "My ankles are feeling great," Nowitzki said. "I'm feeling pain-free and I have more confidence."

    Rookie Josh Howard scored all 13 of his points in the first half before leaving in the third quarter with a strained left hamstring. He will not play Monday night against the Utah Jazz.

    Finley, Nash and Nowitzki combined to score 25 of Dallas' 30 points in the third quarter. Cassell scored 11 points in a 19-9 run as Minnesota led 73-65, but Dallas scored the next 11 points, capped by a Finley's 3-pointer.

    "They are a very difficult team to defend," Minnesota coach Flip Saunders said. "We've been pretty good defensively, but tonight we were not good and they had a lot to do with that."

    Finley shot 6-of-9 from 3-point range. He was 2-of-7 from the field in the first half before going 7-of-8 in the second half.

    "A couple of us had off nights," Dallas' Antoine Walker said. "But we've got guys who can step up and help us score 119. That's the exciting thing about this team."

    Cassell scored Minnesota's first eight points in the second quarter as the Wolves took a 38-27 lead, but Dallas rallied for a 56-54 halftime lead.

    Game notes


    Antawn Jamison played in his 278th consecutive game, the third-longest streak in the NBA. ... Garnett recorded his 27th double-double of the season, equaling Tim Duncan for the NBA lead. He also had his fourth 20-20 game. ... Nash posted his fifth straight double-double. ... Minnesota had won nine of its previous 10 games. ... Walker had 12 points and Jamison had 10.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    MIN
    DAL
    Points 112 119
    FGM-FGA 43-91 (.473) 43-84 (.512)
    3PM-3PA 9-20 (.450) 12-24 (.500)
    FTM-FTA 17-22 (.773) 21-28 (.750)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 17-46 12-43
    Assists 20 28
    Turnovers 12 11
    Steals 3 6
    Blocks 2 1
    Fast Break Points 8 5
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (1/0) 19 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    Minnesota
    Dallas
    Kevin Garnett Garnett
    Points: 27
    Reb: 22
    Ast: 7
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    Dirk Nowitzki Nowitzki
    Points: 31
    Reb: 9
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0