Nowitzki helps Dallas hold off Portland

Dirk Nowitzki scored 24 points, and Dallas continued its playoff push by holding off Portland, 97-94, Friday night.

Delonte West tallied 21 points and Shawn Marion scored 17 for the Mavericks, who have won three in a row and sit in sixth in the Western Conference. They are 1 1/2 games ahead of Houston and Denver and one back of fifth-place Memphis.

Jamal Crawford scored 18 for the Trail Blazers, who nearly rallied from a 24- point deficit, only to lose for the third time in four games.