Dirk Nowitzki finished with 37 points, including 22 in the second half, as the Dallas Mavericks beat the Boston Celtics 99-90 in their match-up on Monday. Nowitzki shot 14-of-22 from the field and went on a nine-point unanswered scoring spree in the third quarter which gave the Mavericks a lead they would hold for the rest of the game. Jason Kidd scored 13 points and added 17 assists for the Mavericks, who had lost three of their last four games.
"We have been struggling offensively for some reason," Nowitzki said. "We need to get the stops in our end and get the ball and run and have fun. "It all starts on our defensive end. We did a great job in the second half." Paul Pierce scored 24 points, Ray Allen scored 21, Kendrick Perkins had 14 points and 12 rebounds and Rajon Rondo had 12 assists for Boston, who have lost three in a row at home.
The Celtics have lost four of their last six overall, and they are 4-7 since beating the Magic in Orlando on Christmas Day. Boston led by five points, 25-20, after the first quarter and boosted that to 50-41 at the half. The Mavericks rallied late in the third as Erick Dampier drove for a basket and Nowitzki hit a jump shot from the left side to give Dallas a 69-68 lead and then a jump shot from the top of the key for his ninth successive point.
Elsewhere in the NBA, the New York Knicks' Nate Robinson scored 27 - with five three-point tallies - en route to a 99-91 win over the Detroit Pistons. The Washington Wizards showed some form in beating the Portland Trail Blazers 97-92 as Antawn Jamison sank 28 points at the business end of the game. The Atlanta Hawks' three-match winning run was halted 94-91 by the Oklahoma City Thunder, with Kevin Durant scoring 29 points.
The Houston Rockets needed overtime to beat the Milwaukee Bucks 101-98, with Luis Scola hitting his peak for the season with 27 points. Overtime was also needed as the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Philadelphia 76ers 108-103. The Charlotte Bobcats edged the Sacramento Kings 105-103, while the Los Angeles Clippers were comfortable 106-95 winners over the New Jersey Nets.
Tony Parker was the star with 25 points as the San Antonio Spurs overcame the New Orleans Hornets 97-90, while the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Phoenix Suns 125-118 and the Golden State Warriors trounced the Chicago Bulls 114-97, with Monta Ellis scoring 36 points along with eight assists and five rebounds. * With agencies