Raptors 109, Mavericks 108

Art Garcia, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

DALLAS -- Toronto guard DeMar DeRozan knocked down an off-balance jumper in overtime that proved the difference in the Raptors' 109-108 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night at American Airlines Center.
The Raptors, down by as many as 19 points in the first half, improved to 10-14 with their third consecutive road win. Toronto won for only the fourth time ever in Dallas.
DeRozan finished with 15 points and was one of six Raptors with at least 14. Point guard Kyle Lowry led Toronto with 20 points, center Jonas Valanciunas added 18 points and 13 rebounds, and guard Terrance Ross and forward Amir Johnson each scored 15.
The Mavericks (15-11) had their two-game winning streak snapped in the finale of a three-game homestand. The Mavericks also wasted a standout performance from guard Jose Calderon, who scored a season-high 23 points and had nine assists.
Calderon also equaled a career high with seven 3-pointers and nearly single-handedly lifted the Mavericks past his former team with his play in the fourth quarter and overtime.
DeRozan was just as clutch down the stretch. He sent the game into overtime with a driving jumper with 16 seconds left and knocked down the winner with 1:11 left in the extra session.
The Raptors opened a robust three-game Western Conference road trip, which moves to Oklahoma City and San Antonio, on the right foot. Dallas dropped to 11-3 at home and 7-3 against the East.
Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki scored 22 points but missed his last six shots from the field. Guard Monta Ellis (21 points) misfired on Dallas' last possession of overtime.
Lowry got hot in the third quarter, helping the Raptors inch ahead. Dallas finished the quarter strong, just as they did in the second quarter, to take an 81-78 lead on Ellis' scoop going into the fourth.
Toronto opened the fourth quarter with an 8-0 run, including consecutive 3-pointers from guards Greivis Vasquez (14 points) and DeRozan, to go up 86-81 and force Dallas coach Rick Carlisle to call timeout. The stoppage didn't help. Vasquez drilled another 3-pointer to put Dallas in an 89-81 hole.
Calderon turned aggressive in leading the Mavericks' comeback. Besides knocking down several shots, Calderon found an open Nowitzki for a 3-pointer to put Dallas back on top 95-93.
The Raptors responded to take the game beyond regulation.
Calderon hit two 3-pointers early as Dallas jumped out to a 14-6 lead, prompting a timeout by coach Dwane Casey. The spread stretched into double digits midway through the first quarter and the Mavericks were up 33-22 at the end of the quarter.
The Raptors found themselves down as much as 19 points in the second quartr before making a push and cutting into the deficit with a 10-0 run. Toronto then took a 49-47 lead after a 13-0 spurt that ended on Ross' post-up floater.
The Mavericks finished the first half with a jumper from Nowitzki and Ellis' 3-point play to take a 52-49 advantage into the locker room. Ellis had 11 points at the break to pace Dallas. Lowry topped all scorers with 12 points.
NOTES: The Mavericks have seen an improvement defensively in December, allowing just 96.6 points going into Friday. "We've committed 80 percent of our practice to defense and rebounding," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. "We were just that bad on defense." ... Raptors coach Dwane Casey was an assistant under Carlisle in Dallas. Casey took the Toronto job after the Mavericks won the 2011 NBA title. ... Casey has seen few signs of aging in 35-year-old F Dirk Nowitzki. "I see a younger Dirk, almost like a rejuvenated Dirk," Casey said. "He's shot the ball well, he's moving well. I haven't seen any signs of decline whatsoever." ... Dallas completes its eighth back-to-back of the season Saturday at Phoenix. ... Dallas G Jose Calderon and F Shawn Marion both played for Toronto.

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