Nowitzki, Williams power Mavs to victory


Dirk Nowitzki and Deron Williams played on Sunday as if everything was on the line.

Nowitzki scored 40 points and Williams had 31 points and 16 assists, all season highs, leading the Dallas Mavericks to a 132-120 overtime win over the Portland Trail Blazers.

Williams made a tiebreaking 3-pointer in overtime before Nowitzki scored eight straight points, all on assists by Williams.

“It’s my job as a point guard,” Williams said. “You’ve got to know when your good fella’s hot.”

Nowitzki has scored 20 or more points in eight straight games. His 20th career 40-point game was his first since Jan. 11, 2014, and the first by a 37-year-old since Karl Malone in 2000-01.

The Mavericks moved within a half-game of the Trail Blazers for the sixth playoff spot in the Western Conference. Dallas has 12 games to play, and Portland has 11.

Williams “set it all up (with) his aggressiveness, him taking guys off the dribble, using a great rhythm today,” Nowitzki said. “Salah (Mejri) really changed the game for us today, so I think this game has a couple heroes.”

Rookie Mejri came off the bench to score 13 points with career highs of 14 rebounds, six blocked shots and 32 minutes played. He had played just 198 minutes in 23 games before Sunday.

Damian Lillard led the Trail Blazers with 26 points, but made only 8 of 26 field goal attempts.

Raptors 105, Magic 100

In Toronto, DeMar DeRozan scored 25 points to lead the Raptors to the win.

Luis Scola had 20 points as Toronto moved within one game of idle Cleveland for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

Evan Fournier and Victor Oladipo each had 21 points for Orlando, which lost its seventh straight game in Toronto and has now lost 13 of the last 14 meetings with the Raptors.

Pelicans 109, Clippers 105

In New Orleans, Jrue Holiday scored 22 points, helping the injury-riddled Pelicans to the victory.

Omer Asik scored a season-high 15 points and tied his season best with 14 rebounds for New Orleans, while Dante Cunningham scored a season-high 19 points.

Kings 88, Knicks 80

In New York, DeMarcus Cousins had 24 points and 20 rebounds, and Sacramento had its best defensive performance of the season.

The Kings, who came in allowing a league-worst 109.6 points per game, easily surpassed their previous best of 88 points allowed, shutting down a Knicks team that played without leading scorer Carmelo Anthony.

Celtics 120, 76ers 105

In Philadelphia, Isaiah Thomas led six Celtics players in double figures with 26 points as Boston ended a four-game skid.

Jared Sullinger added 17 points and 13 rebounds for the Celtics, who swept the four-game season series against the 76ers to make it eight consecutive wins against Philadelphia. Boston avoided matching its longest losing streak of the season with the victory.

Jazz 94, Bucks 85

In Milwaukee, Gordon Hayward scored 18 points, including 13 during a decisive third quarter, as the Jazz won for the fifth time in six games.

Utah remained one game behind Dallas for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Trey Lyles added 14 points for the Jazz, and Shelvin Mack had 13 points and 12 assists.