By Myka Williams
After jumping out to a 20-point lead, the Dallas Mavericks formidable 12-game winning streak came to a halt Monday night, as the Milwaukee Bucks went on a 14-0 run late in the fourth quarter. The Bucks out-lasted the Mavericks 103-99 to win their third straight game, and ended its seven-game losing streak in Dallas.
Although the Bucks have not fared well as visitors this season, with a 3-8 record, guard Brandon Jennings and center Andrew Bogut were too much for the Mavericks to handle. Jennings had 23 points and 10 assists, while Bogut capped off 21 points and 14 rebounds. Keyon Dooling pitched in 16 points in the defeat.
“We took it too easy, and you can never take it easy in this league,” Dirk Nowitzki explained. “We just seemed to let up a little bit on both ends of the floor. Teams are too dangerous, too good.”
Nowtizki, who was honored as Western Conference Player of the Week for the second time this season, led the Mavericks with 30 points and seven rebounds, while Shawn Marion (10.5 ppg) added 14 points. But it wasn’t enough to hold off the Bucks.
“After the first quarter we got beat in every quarter,” Head Coach Rick Carlisle said about his teams loss. “We certainly had lapses and made our share of mistakes. But credit to Milwaukee, they took the game away from us flat out. I’m not going to say we gave it away, or anything like that. They took it and we gave them opportunities.”
Early in the fourth quarter, the game was tied at 79, until Marion executed a layup, and later found Nowitzki for a three-pointer behind the arc to boost the Mavericks lead 84-79 with 8:40 left to play. But the Bucks used some role players off the bench in Ersan Ilyasova and Chris-Douglas Robert to give their team some life on the offensive end.
Ilyasova provided a three-pointer in Milwaukee’s late run with 3:32 remaining in the game. And while ahead 97-88, the Mavericks inched closer after Nowitzki made two free-throws down 101-99 with 32.8 seconds. Dooling would connect with two free-throws to extend the Bucks lead 103-99. Caron Butler missed a three-pointer for Dallas, and Bucks rebounded to close it out.
“Jennings played great,” Carlisle said. “He’s the quickest guy on the planet and exposed how quick he is. He is very difficult to deal with. We didn’t do a great job of handling him and he made some difficult shots. He was very determined and you could see it in his eyes the whole second half. They kicked our ass. I don’t know any other way to put it.”
The Mavericks will look to start a new streak Wednesday, when they welcome the Portland Trail Blazers. The Mavericks have won 11 consecutive games at home vs. the Blazers before falling short the last two at the American Airlines Center in the 2009-2010 season.
“We have a great Portland team coming in here Wednesday night,” said Jason Terry. “It’s going to be a good challenge for us.”