TORONTO (AP)—Dallas coach Avery Johnson tried to tell his team the Toronto Raptors would come back. The Mavericks heard him just in time to escape with a victory.
Dirk Nowitzki had 30 points to help Dallas outlast another Toronto rally, defeating the Raptors 122-113 on Sunday.
Toronto had won its previous two games after rallying from deficits of 22 and 19, and almost overcame a 25-point hole against Dallas. The Raptors cut it four before Jason Terry’s 3-pointer gave the Mavericks a seven-point lead with 36 seconds left.
“I guess the guys didn’t believe me, that that’s just coach talking crazy,” said Johnson, who coached his last game in relief of the injured Don Nelson. “We finally got the message, and held them off.”
Nelson, who underwent shoulder surgery, will return for Tuesday’s game against Chicago. Johnson went 7-3 in his absence.
Michael Finley added 23 points for the Mavericks, who shot a season-high 60 percent from the field. Dallas had seven players reach double figures in scoring.
“They made a hell of a run, but we stayed tough,” Nowitzki said. “We got a couple of stops we needed and offensively we pretty much got what we wanted all game long. We shot 60 percent from the floor. That doesn’t happen very much.”
Toronto coach Sam Mitchell cut his postgame press conference short after being asked what he thought were inappropriate questions.
“I’m going to stop it at that before I take some of these mics and break them,” said Mitchell, who didn’t like it when he was asked about changing his starting lineup because of its porous defense.
“Don’t make me say what I was getting ready to say to you because they’ll put me in jail,” the first-year coach said.
Erick Dampier’s dunk gave Dallas its 25-point lead in the third, but Toronto followed with 25-3 run bridging the third and fourth quarters.
Donyell Marshall’s 3-pointer cut the lead to five with 8:53 left, but Nowitzki followed with three straight jumpers to make it a 10-point lead.
Morris Peterson’s 3-pointer cut it to four with 1:19 remaining. Nowitzki followed with an offensive foul on the other end, but Bosh slipped and turned the ball over on the next possession.
“We were almost there, we were down by four and unfortunately I slipped under the basket,” Bosh said.
Terry followed with his 3-pointer and Nowitzki made two free throws to give Dallas a 120-111 lead with 19 seconds left.
Toronto’s 17 turnovers led to 26 points for Dallas.
The Mavericks had six turnovers in the fourth quarter, including three straight to begin the period, allowing Toronto to get back in the game.
Bosh finished the week averaging 23.3 points, 11.3 rebounds. He shot 57 percent from the field and went 30-for-35 from the foul line in three games. … Finley scored 19 points in the second half.