Marion, Mavs swat Love's T-Wolves

MINNEAPOLIS — Shawn Marion was getting to the rim at will, knocking down 3-pointers and playing tough defense.

Even if the Minnesota Timberwolves think his defense was a little too tough on the last shot of the game, there was no disputing that "The Matrix" was back for Dallas on Monday night.

Marion scored 32 points, hit two huge 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and swatted away Kevin Love's 21-foot jumper at the buzzer to help the Mavericks outlast the Timberwolves in a 100-98 victory.

The Mavs led by 19 late in the first half and seven with 3 minutes to play, but the Wolves had the ball down two in the closing seconds. Love got the ball in the corner and rose up for a 3-pointer, but Marion swooped in and swatted it away as Love looked for a foul. None was called.

"Heh, heh. It was not a foul," Marion said.

The Timberwolves disagreed.

"He got fouled," Minnesota coach Rick Adelman said. "I wonder what that would have been if (Dirk) Nowitzki, LeBron James, all the top players in the league — a guy reaches on a last-second shot like that, instead of challenging it. Maybe they don't understand that Kevin is one of the top five players in this league. You make that call. But they didn't."

Love, who had 36 points, 11 rebounds and four assists, stood watching the scoreboard in disbelief, and the Mavericks walked off the court winners against the Wolves for the first time in three tries this season.

"I'm the type of person that if you see a foul, an obvious foul, you call it," Love said. "And I thought that was pretty, pretty obvious. ... You look at the replay and it was obvious he got arm."

Nowitzki had 16 points for the Mavericks, who led by 19 late in the first half before the Wolves came back. But this win was all Marion. He topped 30 points in a game for the first time since the 2008-09 season, and made 14 of 19 shots to go with six rebounds and three assists.

"I'm all about winning games, man," Marion said. "Whatever it takes."

Heat 97, Nuggets 94

At Denver, LeBron James returned from a groin injury to score 26 points on his birthday, and Miami beat the Nuggets despite losing Dwyane Wade and Norris Cole during the game.

James, who turned 29 on Monday, injured his groin Friday during the Heat's overtime loss at Sacramento. He sat out the following game, a 108-107 win Saturday in Portland, before coming back to help send the Nuggets to their seventh consecutive defeat.

Chris Bosh had 17 points and Ray Allen 13, including six in the final 5:08, as Miami won for the ninth time in 11 games.

Ty Lawson had 26 points to lead the Nuggets, who lost their second straight to Miami at the Pepsi Center after winning the previous 10 in a row.

Cole left midway through the third quarter after taking a fall at the end of a driving layup attempt and hitting his face on the floor. He had come into the game in place of Wade, who didn't return after halftime because of back spasms, the Heat said on Twitter.

Suns 107, Clippers 88

At Los Angeles, Goran Dragic had 26 points and eight assists before sitting out the fourth quarter, Gerald Green added 21 points off the bench, and Phoenix ended the year with a rout of Los Angeles.

The Suns have won 10 of their last 12 after a 9-9 start under first-year coach Jeff Hornacek, and trail the defending Pacific Division champion Clippers by a half-game for the top spot.

Blake Griffin and Jamal Crawford each scored 15 points for Los Angeles, while Chris Paul had 11 points and seven assists. It was the most lopsided loss of the season for the Clippers, who beat the Suns the previous three times they hosted them — by an average margin of 20 points.

Wizards 106, Pistons 99

At Auburn Hills, Mich., John Wall scored 29 points and Washington became the latest team to rally past Detroit in the fourth quarter.

Washington trailed 87-78 before starting the final period with a 17-4 run. The Pistons never went back ahead.

Brandon Jennings had 15 points and 14 assists for Detroit, which has lost five of six.

Trevor Ariza scored 15 points for the Wizards, who also beat Detroit 106-82 on Saturday in Washington.

Bulls 95, Grizzlies 91

At Memphis, Tenn., Jimmy Butler scored 14 of his 26 points in the third quarter and Carlos Boozer added 21 points and 10 rebounds in Chicago's victory over Memphis.

Butler shot 6 for 10 from the field and 12 of 14 at the foul line in a team-high 41 minutes. D.J. Augustin had 10 points off the bench for the Bulls, including eight in the fourth period as Memphis tried to make a late run.

Jazz 83, Bobcats 80

At Salt Lake City, Trey Burke beat the shot clock on a driving layup with 19 seconds left and scored 21 points to power Utah past Charlotte.

Alec Burks added 14 points, and Derrick Favors and Marvin Williams added 13 apiece to carry the Jazz to their 10th straight win over the Bobcats.

Gerald Henderson had 19 points, none in the fourth quarter, and Al Jefferson and Kemba Walker both scored 18 in the Bobcats' first stop on a four-game Western Conference swing. The Jazz held Charlotte to 37 percent shooting and spoiled Jefferson's return to Utah, where he spent the last three seasons.


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