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03/31/2013 12:52 AM EDT
Nowitzki lifts Mavericks past Bulls 100-98
DALLAS 100, CHICAGO 98

DALLAS (AP) -- Dirk Nowitzki said the ball felt flat coming out
of his hand.



It turned out to be the perfect trajectory for the Dallas
Mavericks.



Nowitzki hit a 3-pointer with 2.9 seconds left and the Mavericks
rallied to beat the Chicago Bulls 100-98 on Saturday.



"This game was kind of like the story of our season," said
Nowitzki, who finished with a season-high 35 points. "Every time
someone writes us off, we find a way to come back."



The Mavericks trailed by 12 in the fourth quarter, but Nowitzki
scored Dallas' last eight points in a 15-1 run over the final 3
1/2 minutes of the game.



After Jimmy Butler missed two free throws with 15.9 seconds
remaining, Vince Carter drove down the lane and kicked a pass
out to Nowitzki, who stepped into a 3-pointer with Luol Deng
running at him.



Nowitzki raised both hands in the air and yelled as he headed
toward the Dallas bench. Chicago's Nate Robinson then missed a
jumper at the buzzer that would have tied it.



"It didn't feel great," Nowitzki said.



Dallas (36-37) remained a game and a half behind the Los Angeles
Lakers and the Utah Jazz for the final playoff spot in the West.
The Jazz beat Brooklyn and the Lakers held off Sacramento on
Saturday night.



The Mavericks, who bounced back from a 25-point loss to Indiana,
open a four-game road trip against the Lakers on Tuesday night.



"All these are must win for us," Dallas center Brandan Wright
said. "We couldn't afford to lose two in a row."



Robinson scored 14 of his 25 points in the fourth in Chicago's
first game since ending the Miami Heat's 27-game winning streak.
The reserve guard made all seven of his 3-point attempts.



Carlos Boozer and Deng also had 25 points for the Bulls, who hit
a season-high 12 3-pointers.



"This was definitely a tough loss," Chicago guard Kirk Hinrich
said. "We just didn't finish it out. They have a lot of guys
with lots of experience and I give them credit."



The Mavericks trailed 97-85 after Deng hit the Bulls' sixth
3-pointer of the final period.



Nowitzki made a 3 to cut Dallas' deficit to 97-95 with 53.9
seconds left. The Bulls, who missed three of four foul shots in
the final minute, got a free throw from Boozer with 41.2 seconds
remaining.



Nowitzki then hit a step-back jumper to get Dallas within one
and Carter fouled Butler, who was open on a cut near the basket.



Butler missed two free throws, and the Mavericks grabbed the
rebound and headed up the court. Carter looked to have a good
look at the last shot, but instead passed to Nowitzki for the
game-winner.



Nowitzki hit his first eight shots and finished 14 of 17 from
the floor.



Robinson's jumper was well off and the Bulls were denied their
season-high fourth straight victory.



Carter and Wright each scored 17 for the Mavericks, who finished
4-2 on a six-game homestand.



Dallas closed the third with a 12-1 run to tie it at 75.



Robinson scored all of Chicago's points in an 11-2 run to start
the fourth. The 5-foot-9 guard then hit a 32-footer to beat the
shot clock, putting the Bulls up 91-83 midway through the
quarter.



"He was on fire," Nowitzki said of Robinson. "It was like a
video game."



All-Star center Joakim Noah (right foot) was sidelined for the
fourth straight game for Chicago, and guard Marco Belinelli
(abdominal strain) missed his third straight. The Bulls also
were without Richard Hamilton (lower back), who hasn't played
since Feb. 26.



NOTES: Bulls point guard Derrick Rose, who hasn't played this
season after injuring his left knee in the playoffs last year,
worked out on the court before the game. Coach Tom Thibodeau did
not provide a timetable for Rose's return. `'As long as he
continues to improve, that's all we're concerned with,"
Thibodeau said. `'When he's comfortable, he'll get out there." .
Dallas G O.J. Mayo went 1 of 13 with an injured left shoulder.
Mayo had an MRI on Friday which revealed a sprained AC joint. He
started the game wearing a harness, but played without it after
the first quarter. . The Mavericks recalled G Jared Cunningham
from the Texas Legends of the NBA Development League after the
game. He averaged two points in eight games with Dallas earlier
this season.

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