Dirk Nowitzki can forget about his second-half problems Tuesday night.
He was there when it mattered most for Dallas.
Nowitzki finished the game with a nifty stepback move, then hit a 20-footer with 1.1 seconds left to give the Mavs a 94-92 victory at Indiana. The eight-time All-Star forward scored 17 points in the first half, then went just 3-of-11 from the field over the final 24 minutes -- numbers that will almost certainly be forgotten after his closing flurry.
He tied the score at 89 with a 17-foot turnaround with 1:25 left. Then, after Dallas coach Rick Carlisle called timeout to set up a play, Nowitzki took the ball, dribbled once to his left, stepped away from Pacers forward Jeff Foster and hit the winner.
The victory ended a stretch in which Dallas had lost three-of-four games. The Mavs have now matched Utah's win total of 42 but remain two games back in the loss column for the seventh playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Dallas looked as if it would take control midway through the third quarter when it built a 66-56 lead.
But the Pacers rallied. Brandon Rush and Travis Diener each hit 3-pointers during a 12-4 spurt that made it 72-70 with 3:09 to go and Diener tied it at 74 with 2:07 left with another 3 from the top of the key.
Indiana finally took the lead, 76-74, when Granger drove in for a layup with 1:00 left. Mavs guard Jason Terry then hit a 3 with 12.9 seconds left in the quarter to make it 77-76.
That set up a back-and-forth fourth quarter.
The teams traded leads on the first five baskets of the quarter, and only once -- when Rush hit a 3 with 2:30 left to make it 89-85 -- did either team have a lead of more than two.
The Mavs answered that challenge by scoring seven straight points to take a 92-89 lead with 56.9 seconds left.
T.J. Ford then beat the shot-clock buzzer, hitting a 3 right over a defender to tie it with 20 seconds left.
Dallas then called timeout, setting up Nowitzki for the winner.
Copyright AP - Associated Press