Nowitzki, Mavericks slip past Clippers
DALLAS — Dirk Nowitzki scored a season-high 33 points, including the first eight in overtime, and the Dallas Mavericks beat one of the top four teams in the Western Conference for the first time this season with a 109-102 victory against the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday night.
Chris Paul also had a season-high 33 for the Clippers, who lost the opener of a four-game road trip that makes three stops in Texas.
The Mavericks improved to 1-11 against the top four teams in the West and pulled within a game of the Lakers for the final playoff spot.
Nowitzki put Dallas ahead for good at 101-100 on a jumper, and the Clippers went 4 minutes without a field goal in overtime. Matt Barnes shot an air ball on a wide-open 3-pointer with the Mavericks leading 103-100 in the final 30 seconds.
The game went to overtime after a wild final 5 seconds in regulation starting with a go-ahead layup by Paul. O.J. Mayo answered when he slipped the ball in from behind the backboard to tie the score at 97-all with 0.6 seconds left.
With coach Vinny Del Negro signaling for a timeout, the Clippers threw it in anyway. Blake Griffin caught the ball in the lane and flipped it in the basket in one motion, but was called for an offensive foul for pushing Nowitzki before the ball arrived. Dallas got the ball back but was 70 feet from the basket and couldn't get a shot off.
Knicks 100, Celtics 85
At Boston, J.R. Smith scored 32 points, Carmelo Anthony added 29 and the New York Knicks extended their winning streak to five games with a win over Boston.
The win moved the Knicks into second place in the Eastern Conference, percentage points ahead of the Indiana Pacers. The Celtics, who could face the Knicks in the first round of the playoffs, lost their fifth game in a row and remained in seventh.
Neither team led by more than four points in the early going and the score was tied 35-35 early in the second quarter. The Knicks then scored the next 14, led 58-44 at halftime and stayed comfortably ahead the rest of the way, leading by as many as 17 points.
Timberwolves 105, Pistons 82
At Auburn Hills, Mich., Nikola Pekovic had 18 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves to a rout of the Detroit Pistons.
The game matched one of the league's worst home teams against one of the worst on the road. The Pistons haven't won at home since before the All-Star break, losing seven straight, while Minnesota had lost 10 of its last 11 road games.
Reserve J.J. Barea matched a season-best with 21 points for Minnesota, while Luke Ridnour scored 15 and Ricky Rubio added 14 points and nine assists.
Greg Monroe had 11 points and 12 rebounds for Detroit.