Nowitzki’s 44 lead Mavericks to OT win over Bulls

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With one teammate out with an injury and another in foul trouble, the Dallas Mavericks needed a special effort from star Dirk Nowitzki.

DALLAS–With one teammate out with an injury and another in foul trouble, the Dallas Mavericks needed a special effort from star Dirk Nowitzki.

And Nowitzki delivered with 44 points – 14 in overtime – to send the Mavericks to a 115-114 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night.

Jason Terry, Dallas’ No. 2 scorer at 20.2 points per game, will be out for an extended stretch after sustaining a broken bone in his left hand in the first half.

Josh Howard, who spent long stretches on the bench because of fouls, finished with 13 points, almost five below his average.

So it was up to Nowitzki to take control after missing 10 of 15 field-goal attempts in the first half.

“Unbelievable performance,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. “He just stayed patient and into the game. Down the stretch his shot-making was phenomenal.”

The Bulls tried several defensive tactics to hold down Nowitzki in the second half and overtime with little success.

“That’s why he’s a superstar,” Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said. “We tried trapping him, we switched on him, but we couldn’t get to him.”

Nowitzki connected on five of seven shots from the field in the overtime and hit all four free throws to help the Mavericks win for the fifth time in six games.

Nowitzki converted three straight jumpers on Dallas’ first three possessions of the overtime for a 103-99 lead.

Chicago got within 113-111 with 3.8 seconds left in overtime on Tyrus Thomas’ 3- pointer.

But Nowitzki swished a pair of free throws with 2.9 seconds left to close out the Bulls, who got within one on Thomas’ 3-pointer at the final buzzer.

Nowitzki fell two points short of his season high set on Dec. 13 against Oklahoma City, going 16-for-34 from the field, making all 11 free throws, pulling down nine rebounds and blocking three shots.

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In photo: Chicago Bulls forward Thabo Sefolosha (center) looks to pass th eball between Dallas Mavericks guard Jose Juan Barea (left) and forward Josh Howard during the first half of the game.

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