Nowitzki matched a season high with 35 points Friday as Dallas extended its winning streak to four games with a 90-83 victory at Memphis, ending the Grizzlies’ season-high six-game winning streak.
Nowitzki was 13-of-29 from the field and made eight of nine free throws before fouling out with 37 seconds left. Marquis Daniels scored 18 points and added six assists for the Mavericks, while Keith Van Horn finished with 13 points.
“We can play good defense when we’ve got our mind made up to do it,” said Mavericks center Erick Dampier, who led a 50-38 Dallas rebounding advantage with 11 boards. “We came up with stops when we needed them.”
Dallas hasn’t lost since a 92-90 setback to defending NBA champion San Antonio on Dec. 1, and has won 12 of 15 overall since a 2-2 start.
The Celtics are coming off a 101-89 loss at San Antonio on Friday, their 17th straight defeat to the Spurs since 1997. Paul Pierce scored 24 points and Ricky Davis and Mark Blount added 19 apiece for Boston, which has been swept by Dallas in four of the last five season series.
The Celtics have lost nine of 10 meetings with the Mavericks during that stretch and eight of 11 to the Houston Rockets including a 91-73 setback on Tuesday.
Nowitzki averaged 32.5 points and 10 rebounds in two victories over Boston last season. In 2002, he had his first-career 20-rebound game against the Celtics, grabbing 23 boards to go with 33 points. The Mavericks have also won five in a row at home from the Celtics since March 18, 2000.
Boston has lost three of its last five overall, and is 2-2 on its five-game road trip.
STANDINGS (through Dec. 9): Celtics - 3rd place, 1 1/2 GB, Atlantic Division. Mavericks - 2nd place, 2 GB, Southwest Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Celtics - Pierce, 26.7 ppg and 8.9 rpg; Davis, 5.3 apg. Mavericks - Nowitzki, 25.6 ppg and 8.9 rpg; Jason Terry, 3.7 apg.
2004-05 SEASON SERIES: Mavericks, 2-0.
LAST MEETING: March 30; Mavericks, 112-100. At Boston, Nowitzki scored 36 points as Dallas completed a season sweep of the Celtics.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Celtics - 2-6 on the road; Mavericks - 6-2 at home.