Nowitzki slays Celtics

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BOSTON, January 19 – Dirk Nowitzki finished with 37 points, including 22 in the second half, as the Dallas Mavericks beat the Boston Celtics 99-90 in a marquee matchup of first place teams on Monday.
Nowitzki shot 14-of-22 from the field and went on a nine point unanswered scoring spree in the third quarter which gave the Mavericks a lead they wouldn’t give up.

Jason Kidd scored 13 points and added 17 assists for the Mavericks, who had lost three of their last four games. They were blown out by Toronto on Sunday.

"We have been struggling offensively for some reason," Germany’s Nowitzki said. "We need to get the stops in our end and get ball and run and have fun. It all starts on our defensive end. We did a great job in the second half."

Paul Pierce scored 24 points, Ray Allen scored 21, Kendrick Perkins had 14 points and 12 rebounds and Rajon Rondo had 12 assists for Boston, which has lost three consecutive games at home.

The Celtics have lost four of their last six overall, and they are 4-7 since beating the Magic in Orlando on Christmas Day.

Boston led by five, 25-20, after the first quarter and boosted that to 50-41 at the half.

The Mavericks rallied late in the third as Erick Dampier drove for a basket and Nowitzki hit a jumper from the left side to give Dallas a 69-68 lead and then a jumper from the top of the key for his ninth straight point.

Nowitzki praised Dampier for his contribution Monday.

"I been playing with him (Dampier) for five or six years he does a lot of little things," Nowitzki said. "When he is active in the paint and rebounding and blocking shots then we are a different animal."

The Celtics played without superstar Kevin Garnett, who has missed the past nine games with right knee injury.

Rasheed Wallace returned to the lineup after missing three games with a sore foot.

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