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Nowitzki Shines in Final Home Game; Rockets Clipped by Thunder

Nowitzki stars in likely home finale, Mavs top Suns 120-109

DALLAS (AP) _ Dirk Nowitzki scored a season-high 30 points and the Dallas
Mavericks celebrated the final home game of the 40-year-old’s record 21st season
with the same franchise in a 120-109 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday
night.

Nowitzki hasn’t said he’s retiring, but the game-long celebration of his career
felt even more like a farewell than all the times he was serenaded by the crowds
in opposing arenas once he finally made his debut after missing 26 games
recovering from ankle surgery.

The 14-time All-Star had the first eight Dallas shots and scored his team’s
first 10 points in the first three minutes and passed his previous season high
of 21 on a 3-pointer early in the third quarter.

Dallas’ season finale, and possibly the career-ender for Nowitzki, is Wednesday
night in San Antonio. He broke Kobe Bryant’s record of 20 seasons with the
Lakers. Bryant retired three years ago.

Jamal Crawford scored 51 points, one off his career high, in the season finale
for the Suns (19-63). Phoenix had by far the worst record in the Western
Conference in its fourth straight season with at least 58 losses.

Phoenix trailed by 30 at halftime (68-38) but got within four in the fourth
quarter before back-to-back 3-pointers from Luka Doncic and Justin Jackson
pushed the lead back to 10.

Nowitzki kept shooting on his busiest night of the season, finishing with highs
of 31 shots (making 11) and 33 minutes. He was 5 of 14 from 3-point range with
eight rebounds.

The highest-scoring foreign-born player in NBA history also tied his season
high in assists with three, capped by passing out of a jump shot with the crowd
anticipating another bucket and getting Jackson an easy layup.

A sellout crowd followed owner Mark Cuban’s order of filling the arena early,
and cheered from the first possible moment for the player who guided the
Mavericks to their only championship eight years ago.

Fans stood during warmups, recording him in the layup line on their phones. The
7-foot German obliged with a dunk. Then he had another dunk in the game _ his
second of the season _ in the second half.

The wide smile as he ran down the floor was quite a contrast to the break
between the first and second quarters. Nowitzki fought back tears near midcourt
with the game about to restart after a tribute video detailing one of his
holiday visits to a children’s hospital.

Doncic, the rookie sensation and the heir apparent to Nowitzki, had his eighth
triple-double with 21 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists. The 20-year-old is one
triple-double shy of Jason Kidd’s franchise record from 1995-96.

 TIP-INS

Suns: Crawford was 13 of 16 in the second half and 18 of 30 for the game,
including 7 of 13 from 3-point range. … Dragan Bender had 12 points and 11
rebounds. … Josh Jackson scored 17.

Mavericks: Devin Harris, who has played more than half his 14 seasons with
Nowitzki, scored 14 points. … Dorian Finney-Smith scored 15.

 UP NEXT

 Suns: Await the NBA draft lottery.

 Mavericks: At San Antonio on Wednesday night.

George hits game-winner as Thunder rally to beat Rockets

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Paul George hit the game-winning 3-pointer with 1.8
seconds left, and the Oklahoma City Thunder rallied from 14 points down in the
fourth quarter to beat the Houston Rockets 112-111 on Tuesday night.

Russell Westbrook had 29 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists for his 33rd
triple-double of the season and George added 27 points for the Thunder, who won
their fourth straight.

 James Harden scored 39 points and Chris Paul added 24 for the Rockets.

Harden scored 26 points in the first half to help the Rockets take a 60-51
lead.

The Rockets led 93-80 at the end of the third quarter. Oklahoma City rallied,
and it hit another level after Westbrook returned from a rest in the fourth. His
3-pointer finally put the Thunder ahead 100-99.

Houston regained the lead, but Westbrook hit a 3-pointer with 20.2 seconds left
to cut the Rockets’ lead to a point. Harden made two free throws at the other
end to make it a three-point game. Westbrook dunked with 9.7 seconds left to
trim Houston’s lead to 110-109.

Harden made the first and missed the second free throw at the other end with
9.4 seconds left to set up George’s shot. Houston had one more chance after
George’s 3-pointer, but Harden missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

 TIP-INS

Rockets: Harden shot 4 for 11 in the first quarter and still scored 14 points.
… The Rockets shot 16 3-pointers and four 2-pointers in the third quarter. …
Houston made 18 of 53 3-pointers after setting the NBA record with 27 made 3s
Sunday against Phoenix.

Thunder: C Steven Adams had nine rebounds in the first quarter and finished
with 13. … Terrance Ferguson scored 16 points for his highest-scoring game
since Jan. 17. … Westbrook was called for a Flagrant 1 early in the third
quarter for running through Houston’s P.J. Tucker. … It was the 137th
triple-double of Westbrook’s career, leaving him one behind Magic Johnson for
second all-time.

 UP NEXT

Rockets: Will host a team to be determined in the first round of the playoffs.

 Thunder: At Milwaukee on Wednesday.
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Posted by on Apr 10 2019. Filed under Sports.
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