Mavericks clinch comeback win against Celtics

BOSTON (Reuters) - The Dallas Mavericks extended their win streak to seven games by scoring the final 10 points in a gripping 101-97 victory over the Boston Celtics on Friday.

An interior pass to Dirk Nowitzki was fumbled and, after securing the ball, the German passed it out to Kidd at the top of the arc for the shot.

"I thought about throwing something up toward the basket, but I'm glad I got it out to Jason instead," Nowitzki said.

"And he gave the fake, then stepped back into it, which to me is one of the hardest shots in the game to make. But he made it look easy."

Following Kidd's basket the Celtics called a timeout. On the ensuing inbounds play Rajon Rondo's attempted backdoor alley-oop pass to Kevin Garnett sailed beyond the forward's reach and out of bounds.

The Eastern Conference-leading Celtics then fouled Nowitzki on the inbound pass and he hit both free throws to put the game out of reach.

"I loved the way our guys battled. It comes down to a make or miss here or there, that's how close it was," said Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle.

"Fortunately we were able to hang in and make plays. Kidd's shot was huge and we got the stops we needed."

Nowitzki led the Mavericks with 29 points, 21 in the second half, and was a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw line. Jason Terry added 17 points off the bench.

"I just thought defensively we broke a lot of our defensive rules," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "I thought we played hard, but I thought we tried to cheat a lot defensively as a team, you know gambles, and they made us pay for every one of them."

Ray Allen led the Celtics with 24 points, Garnett had 16 points and Kendrick Perkins, who scored the Celtics' final basket with 2:43 remaining, finished with 13.

(Reporting by Mike Mouat in Windsor, Ontario; editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes and Peter Rutherford)