x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Mavericks rally to consolidate lead

The Dallas Mavericks came from 11 points down to strengthen their hold on the NBA's Southwest Division with a 95-85 away win over the Orlando Magic.

The Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki, centre, gets through the Orlando defence for a shot on his way to scoring 23 points.
The Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki, centre, gets through the Orlando defence for a shot on his way to scoring 23 points.

The Dallas Mavericks came from 11 points down to strengthen their hold on the NBA's Southwest Division with a 95-85 away win over the Orlando Magic. The Mavericks (34-21) had looked beaten until they embarked on an astonishing 19-0 run spanning the end of the third quarter and the start of the fourth. Dirk Nowitzki sparked the game-changing surge with back-to-back baskets and he led the Mavericks with 23 points, including 15 in the second half.

Their new signings Caron Butler (16 points) and Brendan Haywood (15 points and nine rebounds) both impressed after their trade from Washington. "We're capable of playing good defence and we showed that," Nowitzki said. "The guy that really made this trade work for us is Haywood and he showed why tonight. He was battling in there." Jason Kidd had a fine all-around game for Dallas, with 10 points, eight assists and eight rebounds.

"We obviously needed that spurt to get back in control of the game," said Rick Carlisle, the Dallas coach. "We get some stops, get the ball in Jason Kidd's hand and great things happen for us, but it was the defensive end that triggered a lot of good stuff." Dwight Howard led all scorers with 29 points for Orlando (37-19) and added 16 rebounds to record his league-leading 44th double-double. "Obviously our shooting was horrendous, but I can't really say I'm upset," said Stan Van Gundy, the Magic coach.

"Every shot those guys took was wide open and we didn't make any. That's not typical of us." The victory moved Dallas two games ahead of San Antonio in their division after the Spurs lost to Philadelphia. Antawn Jamison broke an NBA record on his debut for the Cleveland Cavaliers - but it was one he will be eager to forget as he missed all 12 of his shots from the field while his new team were beaten 110-93 by the Charlotte Bobcats.

It was the most ever missed shots in an NBA debut and Jamison finished the game with just two points from the free-throw line. "It was just one of those nights," Jamison said. "It won't happen again. I promise you that." "I told him, 'I don't care how many shots you miss, we're going to continue to give you the ball. Those are shots we need you to make and we know you can make them'," said Cleveland's LeBron James.

Ray Allen, the 34-year-old guard, scored 21 points, including eight in a row early in the fourth quarter, to help the Boston Celtics to a 96-76 win over the Portland Trail Blazers. Kevin Garnett, the 33-year-old forward, scored 13 of his 16 points in the first half for the Celtics, who had beaten the Los Angeles Lakers 87-86 on Thursday night. "People can call us old, call us whatever," said Doc Rivers, the Boston coach.

"We're just going to keep trying to get better." * With agencies