<
>

Mavs nip Raptors in OT to claim 14th straight home win

DALLAS (AP) -- The Dallas Mavericks are starting to make a habit
of this -- falling way behind before surging back.

This time, they were down 24 points in the second half. And Dirk
Nowitzki bailed them out again.

"We have to find our sense of urgency a little bit earlier,"
Nowitzki said Saturday after a 115-113 overtime victory over the
Toronto Raptors. "We gave up almost 70 in the first half. It
looked like we just went through the motions."

Nowitzki made an 18-foot fadeaway with a second left in overtime
and finished with 32 points, helping the Mavericks stretch their
club-record home winning streak to 14 games.

Jason Terry added 27 points and Jerry Stackhouse had 22 points
and eight assists to help the Mavericks to the second-biggest
comeback in their history. Dallas came from 25 down to defeat
Denver in 1994.

In their previous game Thursday night, the Mavericks fell behind
by 19 before recovering to beat the Memphis Grizzlies. Nowitzki had
31 points in that game.

On Saturday, Nowitzki had eight of Dallas' 12 points in overtime
and eight in the fourth quarter to give his team a lift.

"We've been down before," Nowitzki said. "We knew if we could
find a way to make a little push, we'd have a chance. With the
shooters we have, anything is possible."

Nowitzki partially blocked Morris Peterson's desperation
3-pointer at the buzzer, Nowitzki's fourth block of the game, to
seal the Mavericks' fifth straight victory.

Chris Bosh had 29 points and 13 rebounds while Mike James had 25
points and seven assists for the Raptors, who lost their third
straight. Charlie Villanueva scored 23 points and Peterson added 20
points for Toronto, 2-22 this season against teams with records of
.500 or better.

"We should be learning be learning from this. ...We're
definitely angry," Peterson said.

The Mavericks took a 109-105 lead in overtime on jumpers from
Terry and Nowitzki, but Toronto went in front with five unanswered
points capped by James' 15-footer with 2:18 left. Nowitzki answered
with consecutive baskets, the second on a layup off an assist from
Darrell Armstrong with 51.5 seconds left to give Dallas a 113-110
lead.

Matt Bonner's 3-pointer 12.4 seconds left in overtime tied it
for the Raptors, but Nowitzki drained an 18-footer with one second
left in OT over Bonner's outstretched arms to put the Mavericks
ahead for good.

The Mavericks got strong defense off the bench from Armstrong,
who helped limit James to five points in the second half and
overtime.

Nowitzki's 22-footer with 51.7 seconds left in regulation capped
a 12-0 run and gave Dallas its first lead, 105-103, but Villanueva
hit two free throws with 29.9 seconds remaining to tie it.
Villanueva stole the ball from Nowitzki with 14 seconds left as
Nowitzki tried to maneuver for a shot at the winner.

James had an opportunity for the win in regulation, but his
layup attempt with 2 seconds to play was partially blocked by
Nowitzki to force overtime.<
^Notes: Toronto went going 16-for-28 from 3-point range and fell one
short of its club record for 3-pointers. ... Five technical fouls
were assessed in the second quarter after Terry was hit in the face
by the extended arm of Toronto's Joey Graham. When no personal foul
was called, Dallas coach Avery Johnson and Terry were hit with
technicals when they protested. James kept talking to Terry on the
ensuing possession, earning James a technical. When Toronto coach
Sam Mitchell complained, he also picked up a T.