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Mavericks Magical Yet Again

January 19, 2001|From Associated Press

The Dallas Mavericks are quickly becoming the kings of the comeback.

Michael Finley made two three-point baskets in the final eight seconds to force overtime, then Dirk Nowitzki opened the extra period with an emphatic running slam for Dallas' first lead as the Mavericks defeated the Orlando Magic, 115-106, Thursday night at Dallas.

The theatrical rally came one night after the Mavericks dug themselves out of a 16-point hole in Charlotte and defeated the Hornets on a three-pointer at the buzzer by Howard Eisley.

"We're learning how to win these games. We have to, especially if we want to be a playoff team," said Nowitzki, who had career highs of 38 points and 17 rebounds.

"Last night gave us confidence," said Finley, who scored 21 points before fouling out in overtime. "Games like these, we would have lost in the old days."

This time, Dallas trailed, 37-15, after one quarter and still was down, 93-82, with 1:46 left in regulation. Orlando led, 96-93, with 5.8 seconds to go when Darrell Armstrong, a 90% free-throw shooter, missed two. The Magic went 12 for 21 from the line in the fourth quarter.

This tied the second-biggest comeback in Dallas history and ended a four-game home losing streak. It was the perfect way to start the second half of the Mavs' best season in 11 years.

A thunderous celebration followed Finley's game-tying shot and the crowd never stopped cheering in overtime. Nowitzki's dunk was followed by two free throws by Shawn Bradley, putting the Mavs ahead for good.

Tracy McGrady led Orlando with 34 points, but had just four in the fourth quarter.

More than 20 minutes after the game, Mavericks' owner Mark Cuban still was roaming the stands, giving high-fives and screaming, "I love this team."

Portland 85, Miami 74--Bonzi Wells scored 13 of his 22 points in the first quarter and Rasheed Wallace added 18 points as the Trail Blazers defeated the Heat at Portland, Ore.

Portland has won 13 of 14 and leads the Western Conference with a 30-11 record at the midway point of the season.

Brian Grant, playing in Portland for the first time since the Blazers traded him to the Heat in a three-way deal last summer, was held to 11 points.

Detroit 116, Chicago 110--Jerry Stackhouse won a shootout with Ron Mercer, and the Pistons ended their six-game losing streak with a victory over the Bulls at Chicago.

Stackhouse, the NBA's leading scorer, scored 36 points, making nine of 25 shots and all 16 of his free throws. Mercer made 15 of 23 from the field and scored 33 points.

Houston 112, Golden State 104--Cuttino Mobley scored a career-high 41 points, and Walt Williams had 14 of his 22 in the second half as the Rockets defeated the Warriors for their 11th consecutive victory at Oakland.

Indiana 84, Atlanta 76--Jalen Rose scored 29 points and Reggie Miller added 15 to lead the Pacers to a victory over the Hawks at Indianapolis.

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