Dallas, TX – Dirk Nowitzki scored his team's final eight points, including a go-ahead 3-pointer with 2.9 seconds left that vaulted the Dallas Mavericks to a 100-98 win over the Chicago Bulls on Saturday at American Airlines Center.
Nowitzki shot a scorching 14-of-17 from the field, including 5-of-6 from 3- point range en route to a season-high 35 points. Vince Carter assisted on Nowitzki's go-ahead bucket and finished with 17 points off the bench for the Mavericks, who closed the contest on a 15-1 surge.
"We came back from double-digit deficits three times," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. "This is a special group of guys even though our year has been a rough year. We're going to keep battling and I believe in them."
Brandan Wright donated a double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds to help Dallas earn its fourth win in five tries to remain within striking distance of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Carlos Boozer recorded a double-double with 25 points and 11 boards, while Luol Deng and Nate Robinson also added 25 points apiece for the Bulls, who had won three straight.
Deng and Robinson recorded all but one of Chicago's 23 points in the fourth frame, as the duo combined on a 22-10 quarter-opening run that gave the Bulls a 12-point lead with 4:08 remaining.
Robinson netted four of his seven 3-pointers during the surge, while Deng capped it with back-to-back triples around a Nowitzki jumper to make it 97-85.
However, the Bulls went the rest of the way without a field goal, allowing the Mavs to reel off 10 straight points, including Nowitzki's trey with 53.9 seconds left that brought the Mavs within two.
After Boozer split two free throws, Nowitzki nailed a tough fadeaway from the baseline to trim the margin to 98-97 with 27.8 ticks remaining.
Jimmy Butler then missed two free throws with 15.9 seconds left to leave the door open for Nowitzki, who drained a triple from the top of the key with just under three seconds remaining to put the Mavs in front.
Following a timeout, Robinson got off a 3-pointer from the right corner, but his tough fadeaway was off the mark and the Mavs escaped with the victory.
"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."
Both teams shot over 55 percent in a tightly contested first half that featured 16 lead changes and six ties and ended with Chicago clinging to a 56-53 edge.
Chicago built its lead as high as 13 early in the third, but the Mavs closed the quarter on a 10-0 sprint to knot the game heading into the final frame.
Chicago had won four straight in the series, including a 101-78 decision earlier this season in Chicago on Nov. 28 ... Robinson finished 7-for-7 from long range ... Dallas shot 50.6 percent (40-for-79) from the field.