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Mavericks 100, Timberwolves 98

The SportsXchange

MINNEAPOLIS -- Forward Shawn Marion scored a season-high 32 points, including two clutch 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, and the Dallas Mavericks held off the Minnesota Timberwolves 100-98 Monday at Target Center.

Dallas, which also got 16 points from forward Dirk Nowitzki and 14 from forward Brandan Wright off the bench, and they needed it all to hold off the Wolves. Minnesota, down by 21 early in the third quarter, rallied to take a three-point lead early in the fourth before Dallas (18-13) made the final push.

The Wolves (15-16) got 36 points and 11 rebounds from forward Kevin Love, 19 points from guard Kevin Martin, 18 points and 10 boards from center Nikola Pekovic and 16 points from forward Corey Brewer. Down by two with seconds remaining, coming out of a time out, the Wolves were unable to get a good shot off.

Love's 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter gave the Wolves an 86-85 lead. Minnesota guard J.J. Barea's runner made it 88-85, but the Mavs fought back.

Dallas swingman Vince Carter hit two free throws to make it 90-89, and then Marion hit consecutive 3-pointers to give Dallas a 95-90 lead. Nowitzki's jumper with less than three minutes left boosted the advantage to 97-90.

The Wolves fought back to within 98-96 on Pekovic's layup with 1:38 left. Center Samuel Dalembert made two free throws with 47.5 seconds left for a four-point Mavs lead. Pekovic scored again, but that was the end of it.

The Mavericks proved difficult for the Wolves to stop in the first quarter. Dallas shot 54.2 percent, got points from six players -- 10 from Marion -- and scored the final six points of the quarter to build a 29-23 lead despite 12 points from Love and nine from Martin.

Dallas took the Wolves' defense to task in the second quarter, which ended with the Mavs up 62-42. The Mavs ended the half on a 23-10 run.

In the third quarter, the Wolves roared back.

Down 21 early in the quarter, Minnesota came back to tie the game with seconds remaining on Brewer's fast-break dunk off a Love pass.

The Wolves got eight points from Martin and seven from Brewer in a 21-6 run that pulled them within six. Dallas pushed the lead back to 77-66, but then the Wolves finished the quarter on a 15-4 run -- with Love scoring eight, Brewer seven -- to send the game into the fourth quarter tied. Brewer had 14 points in the quarter, Love 12.

NOTES: The Wolves are inching toward full health. C Ronny Turiaf, out since the second game of the season with a fractured elbow, took another step when he engaged in a three-on-three game with teammates after shootaround Monday. It was his first contact work since the injury Nov. 1. F Chase Budinger, who has not played this season after having a second surgery on his knee, continues to test the knee in full practice. "It's been great, no swelling," Budinger said. ... Minnesota rookie G Shabazz Muhammad hasn't discussed the possibility of going to the Development League for playing time once Turiaf and Budinger return. He said he would prefer to stay with the Wolves. ... After suffering with a stomach illness the last three days, Mavericks G Wayne Ellington -- whose career began in Minnesota -- was back in the rotation Monday. ... Wolves G Ricky Rubio picked up his 1,000th career assist on F Kevin Love's first-quarter 3-pointer.
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