Mavericks 94, Bulls 93

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CHICAGO (AP)—The Dallas Mavericks had to make do without Michael Finley for a month as the veteran recovered from an injured ankle.

He’s proving that it was worth the wait.

Finley capped his 27-point night with a 17-foot jumper with 3.2 seconds left to lead the Dallas Mavericks to a 94-93 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Monday night.

Dirk Nowitzki had 21 points for Dallas, despite a poor-shooting night. He was 4-of-18 from the floor, but made 13 of 19 from the free throw line.

After missing a month with a sprained right ankle, Finley is averaging 24 points in his first three games back. He hit 3-point buzzer-beaters at the end of the second and third quarters before sinking the game-winner to give the Mavericks their fourth straight road win.

“We needed him,” Nowitzki said. “We needed another shooter back out there who can spread the defense, and make some big shots for us. He’s been a huge lift for us.”

Chicago’s Ben Gordon hit a 3-pointer from the corner to give Chicago a 93-91 lead with 12 seconds left. Nowitzki was fouled by Tyson Chandler with 9 seconds remaining, hit the first free throw, but missed the second.

Dallas’ Josh Howard sneaked around Chandler to get the rebound and Chandler knocked the ball out of bounds.

On the ensuing inbounds, Finley got free and knocked down the shot. Chicago’s Kirk Hinrich missed a 15-foot jumper as time expired.

“They made some costly turnovers. At the end, I just got a good look and let it go,” Finley said.

Nowitzki was happy to escape with a win.

“That’s definitely one we should’ve lost,” said Nowitzki. “They made a lot of mistakes to keep us around all game long. At the end of the night they didn’t box out on a free throw.”

The Bulls thought that Howard was the last to touch the ball before it went out of bounds and Bulls head coach Scott Skiles was also critical of the officiating throughout the game.

“It probably went off Howard, but Bob Delaney felt it was a foul on Tyson, so rather call a foul, he just gave them the ball,” said Skiles.

Howard finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds for Dallas.

Eddy Curry scored 20 points and Luol Deng added 16 for Chicago, who lost to Dallas for the 13th straight time.

Gordon gave the Bulls a 90-84 lead on a 3 with 3:11 left, but Howard responded with a three-point play on the other end and Erick Dampier had a putback basket with 2:21 left to cut the lead to 90-89 with 2:21 left. Gordon scored 14 points for Chicago.

Leading 56-55, Chicago went on a 10-2 run midway through the third quarter. Deng had five points in the span, including a reverse layup to give Chicago a 66-57 lead with 3:05 left in the quarter. Finley hit his second buzzer-beating 3 at the end of the quarter to cut the Chicago lead to 70-65.

Hinrich extended Chicago’s lead to 75-65 with a 3 early in the fourth quarter, but Nowitzki and the Mavericks responded by outscoring the Bulls 8-0 and cutting the lead to 75-73.

Finley hit a 3 at the end of the half to tie the score at 46. Finley had 13 points in the half for Dallas, while Nowitzki added 12.

Notes

Dallas forward Jerry Stackhouse missed the game with a sore right hand. He injured his hand in practice on Sunday. He is day-to-day. … Chicago’s bench outscored Dallas’ 38-15. … Dallas won its first game after trailing in the third quarter. They are now 1-7.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Dallas
D. Nowitzki D. Nowitzki
4-18,  21 Pts
9 Rebs, 2 Assists
 Chicago
K. Hinrich K. Hinrich
5-15,  12 Pts
6 Rebs, 9 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists