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Dallas Final Score: Mavericks Escape Kings, 103-100

The Mavericks got a much needed win against the Kings in a game that was far too close for comfort

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Mavericks pulled out a late win Saturday night against the Kings, winning 103-100. Dirk Nowitzki had an up and down game but finished with a fantastic 19 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists. Rudy Gay had another great game with 30 points and 7 rebounds.

The first quarter started with a solid outburst from Dallas, with Monta Ellis getting to the rim repeatedly and the Kings struggling to find a rhythm. Sam Dalembert continued his recent strong play, starting the game with a bucket at the rim and even hitting an off the dribble jumper. The Mavericks took advantage of the Kings early in transition with Monta and Shawn Marion attacking the rim repeatedly. Though DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay settled the Kings a bit, the Mavericks ended the quarter with a 26-19 lead.

The second period saw Dallas continue to apply pressure to the short-handed Kings (missing point guard Isaiah Thomas), building their lead to as many as 17. Vince Carter and Dirk Nowitzki finally saw shots fall in the second after each had a rough first quarter. Dirk hit a crazy backdown, spinning, fading jumper that looked out of a time machine, considering how poor Dirk's looked on the move lately. Brandan Wright was a key player this period with solid at the rim defense, including two blocks. After a 7-0 run saw their lead extend all the way to 50-33, the Kings finished the half on a 9-4 run to close the lead to 12 points. Dallas led 54-42 after two quarters, on the strength of 55% shooting from the field.

The third period was frustrating for Dallas. After getting DeMarcus Cousins to head to the bench with 4 fouls early in the quarter, the Mavericks got sloppy on both defense and offense. Dirk committed two turnovers and picked up his fourth foul at the 7:22 mark, sending him to the bench for the remainder of the quarter as well. The Kings kept the pressure on Dallas, slowly whittling away the lead. With the 12 point lead all the way down to 1, Vince Carter hit a deep three to give the Mavericks some breathing room. After a pair of Jae Crowder free throws the Kings would answer again, with Ray McCallum hitting a tough transition lay up and three to match Carter's second of the quarter. Jae Crowder hit a tough lay in over Reggie Evans but Travis Outlaw had the final points of the quarter. Dallas led just 72-70 heading into the final period.

The fourth started with Devin Harris getting to the line immediately where he hit one of two. Dirk then scored on the next possession on a baseline jumper before Outlaw and Gay scored to bring the Kings within one again. Brandan Wright dunked on a fantastic ally-oop pass, yet Ray McCallum answered with a three to tie the game for the first time since 11:26 of the first quarter. Wright put Dallas back on top with free throws, but Jason Thompson tied the game again with a put back dunk. Devin Harris got two more free throws on a drive, but connected on only one of two. That foul gave the Kings four for the period with over 7 minutes left.

The Kings took the lead on a put back from Rudy Gay, then extended that lead to three on another Gay put back the very next play. After a timeout Monta Ellis took an ill-advised long three, and the Kings scored on the ensuing possession, once again on an offensive rebound. The Kings picked up their fifth foul, fouling Monta Ellis on a screen. Ellis hit both free throws. After a great Dirk rebound, Ellis drove in transition and committed an offensive foul against DeMarcus Cousins. After Cousins extended the King lead back to five, Ellis scored in transition. After another multi-shot possession for Sacramento saw Jason Thompson get a jumper to fall. However, Dallas managed to answer with a Jose Calderon corner three as the Kings simply forgot to guard him.

Dirk tied the game near the three minute mark with a pair of free throws. The Kings turned the ball over and Shawn Marion returned the lead to Dallas with free throws after getting fouled on a rebound. Sacramento turned it over again, which led to a Marion corner three boosting the lead back up to five. Rudy Gay dunked to bring the Kings within three. After a questionable Monta Ellis pull up, the Kings had a chance to cut into the lead again, but Sam Dalembert knocked away an entry pass to Cousins. Dirk was fouled on the ensuing fast break and hit both free throws. Dirk was fouled again grabbing a defensive rebound on the next possession, putting Dallas up by 7 and essentially ending the game, though the Kings would not go away easily. And Monta needs to hit his free throws. Dallas won 103-100

Notes -

-Sorry for the insane 4th quarter recap. One more thing... ONE HANDED SAM SLAM OOP JAM YEEEAAAAH

-I'm glad Dallas won, because a loss to a team like this when the playoff race is this tight... we can't have that. Dallas is tied for the 8th seed with Memphis again, with one more win and one more loss.

-On the other hand... can't give up 14 offensive rebounds.

-Sam Dalembert is looking good. He's going to get more fourth quarter minutes if Dallas can't clean the defensive glass.

-I don't really have anything else to say. I'm on pins and needles every game. This is going to be a crazy few weeks.