Timberwolves 112, Mavericks 106

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

DALLAS -- The Minnesota Timberwolves snapped a three-game losing skid by picking up a rare road victory, 112-106, over the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday night at the American Airlines Center.
The Timberwolves (9-9) desperately needed the victory facing the second game of a back-to-back Sunday night at Oklahoma City. Then they are off to Mexico City for Wednesday's Global Games matchup against the San Antonio Spurs.
For the Mavericks (10-8), it was only the second loss on their home floor, but also their second consecutive defeat after blowing a 17-point lead Friday night at Atlanta. The Mavs have now lost four of their last five after starting the season 9-4.
Dallas cut Minnesota's 84-77 lead at the end of three quarters to 92-90 with 5:55 to go in the fourth quarter. Wolves shooting guard Kevin Martin followed with a pair of free throws and a jumper to extend the lead to 96-90. A Ricky Rubio baseline drive and then a long 2-pointer and a 3-pointer from Martin made it 103-92 with 3:12 to go to virtually ice the game.
Martin, who went 10-for-11 from the free throw line, finished with a game-high 27 points and knocked down three 3-pointers as Minnesota went 11-for-26 from beyond the arc. Center Nikola Pekovic dominated inside with 21 points on 10-for-13 shooting and nine rebounds. Forward Kevin Love was kept pretty well in check with 21 points on 6-for-14 shooting (and 11 rebounds), although he got free to bury a key 3-pointer with 1:55 to go.
Rubio, who stripped Nowitzki with less than a minute to play as Dallas was in desperation mode, contributed 12 points and seven assists, and forward Corey Brewer knocked down three 3-pointers in scoring 13 points.
Dallas, playing without starting point guard Jose Calderon, was paced by shooting guard Monta Ellis' 26 points on 9-for-15 shooting and six assists. Forward Dirk Nowitzki scored 23 points -- 10 in the fourth quarter -- and Dalembert finished with 12 points and seven rebounds. Forward Shane Marion had just six points and struggling sixth man Vince Carter was just 4-for-12 from the floor for 10 points.
The Timberwolves shot better than 50 percent for the game and were in control most of the way, building a 52-41 lead with 2:10 to go in the first half. But from there Dallas staged a 27-12 run with 21 of the points coming from Ellis, Marion and Dalembert, to take a 68-64 lead midway through the third quarter. The lead didn't last long as the teams went back and forth before Minnesota again surged ahead.
NOTES: Mavs starting PG Jose Calderon did not play after sustaining a bone bruise to his right ankle during Friday's game at Atlanta. Rookie PG Gal Mekel, a native of Israel, made his first career start against Minnesota's Ricky Rubio. ... Mavs SG Monta Ellis is averaging 6.4 free throws a game, but he entered Saturday's game having not attempted a single free throw in the previous two games. ... Timberwolves F Luc Mbah a Moute, traded recently from Sacramento for F Derrick Williams, made his debut with his new club. ... Minnesota is on an odd road trip in which it plays three games, but only two are actual "road" games. The Timberwolves play at Oklahoma City on Sunday and then face the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday in Mexico City, a game that counts as the Timberwolves' home game. Coach Rick Adelman said he is not in favor of international travel during the regular season.

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