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Nowitzki leads Mavericks past free-falling Lakers

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The Canadian Press
1/8/2014 12:13:02 AM
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DALLAS -- Monta Ellis struggled with his shot for most of the game. His big 2-minute outburst in the fourth quarter Tuesday night is all that really mattered for the Dallas Mavericks.

Ellis scored 10 consecutive points on five shots after coming back on the floor, two of them after making steals. That helped the Mavericks avoid their longest home losing streak in 14 years with a 110-97 victory over the slumping and injury-plagued Los Angeles Lakers, who lost for the eighth time in nine games.

"Monta had a rough game to that point offensively, although he had quite a few assists," coach Rick Carlisle said. "We needed a spark, he made plays. ... That spurt, that got us the win."

Ellis, who finished with 16 points and nine assists, was 2-of-11 shooting before his five baskets in a row stretched the Dallas lead from eight to 13 with 5:44 left. He then had assists on the next two Mavericks baskets.

"I stayed with it," Ellis said. "I kept attacking the basket and kept taking my shot, and eventually they started going down."

Dirk Nowitzki scored 27 points to lead the Mavericks, who had lost four in a row at home. They hadn't won in their own arena since beating Memphis the week before Christmas.

The last time Dallas lost more than four straight at home was a six-game slide that ended in January 2000, not long before Mark Cuban bought the team.

"I actually looked for us to play a lot better from start to finish. It just didn't go that way," Carlisle said. "It just was a struggling night."

Still, the Mavericks shot 53 per cent from the field and had 32 assist on 48 baskets. They had 17 steals and 12 turnovers.

Mav forward Shawn Marion, who started after being questionable because of ankle and Achilles issues, left with a bruised right shoulder after a hard fall just before halftime after he got tangled up with Pau Gasol and tripped over Nowitzki. X-rays were negative, but Marion won't travel with the team for Wednesday night's game at San Antonio.

"He's banged up," Carlisle said "He's played hurt plenty of times, but he took a bad fall."

Nowitzki had three baskets on passes from Gal Mekel in a 59-second span early in the second quarter to put Dallas up 43-39. Nowitzki started the span with a running layup before consecutive 11-foot jumpers that sandwiched a 3-pointer by Jodie Meeks.

Meeks, who led the Lakers with 24 points, made two free throws with 8:07 left in the first half to tie the game at 43, but Jose Calderon's 3-pointer on a pass from Marion put the Mavericks ahead to stay.

"We've got some guys who are struggling right now, and some guys playing well," Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said. "Then in the next game, the guys who were struggling play well and the others start struggling."

Vince Carter scored 19 points for Dallas, DeJuan Blair added 15 and Calderon 12.

Kendall Marshall had 18 points for the Lakers, while Wesley Johnson added 17. Gasol had 15 points and 13 rebounds.

Since a 3-0 road trip that ended New Year's Day at Washington, the Mavericks had lost two more home games. The last was 92-80 to the New York Knicks on Sunday when they were held to their season-low scoring output.

Los Angeles is without Kobe Bryant (left knee), Steve Nash (back), Steve Blake (torn ulnar collateral ligament) and Jordan Farmar (left hamstring tear). Nash has missed 27 consecutive games, and Bryant has been out 10 straight since playing in his only six games this season.

"It's tough. I'm trying my best to get us going," said Nick Young, who is dealing with his own back issue. "The more we keep getting buried, it's harder to get back. We've still got to stay with it, stay a team. There ain't nowhere to go but up."

NOTES: Dallas is 4-5 in the first of back-to-back games this season. The Mavs play at San Antonio on Wednesday night. They then get one day off before another back-to-back, at New Orleans on Friday night and then hosting the Pelicans on Saturday night. ... Marshall had 32 assists in his first two starts for the Lakers. He had six assists with six turnovers against Dallas.

Dirk Nowitzki and Pau Gasol (Photo: Glenn James/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Glenn James/Getty Images)
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