DALLAS - Dirk Nowitzki scrambled to replace Tyson Chandler with the Dallas centre sidelined by back spasms, then he found himself with five fouls early in the fourth quarter.When the big German returned to the game, he carried the Mavericks to a come-from-behind win.Nowitzki matched his season high with 30 points, including 10 in the final 5 minutes, Chandler Parsons added 26 and the Mavericks beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 112-107 Sunday night.We had to adjust a little bit, Id say, without Tyson, our warrior, our paint protector, said Nowitzki, who put Dallas ahead for good with two free throws with 3:25 to play and made all 12 of his shots from the line. Not really used to playing in foul trouble, because I never really foul. So I tried to move my feet and be long out there.The Thunder played their sixth straight game without Kevin Durant because of a sprained right ankle. They fell short in their third chance to reach .500 for the first time after Durant and Russell Westbrook were sidelined by injuries for 14 of the first 16 games.Serge Ibaka led Oklahoma City with a season-high 26 points, but was limited to just one shot and two points in the fourth quarter. Westbrook scored 18 but was 6 of 23 from the field. He missed a triple-double with nine rebounds and nine assists. He also had five steals.He didnt shoot the ball well, coach Scott Brooks said. But he competed. He put us in position to have a chance to win this game. He gave everything he had.Nowitzki made his first start at centre in almost five years, according to STATS, and the resulting matchup issues made the 1,000th career game on the bench for Dallas coach Rick Carlisle a challenging one.The Mavericks often had the small-ball look that was a staple earlier in the 36-year-old Nowitzkis career, when he started at centre a little more often. It looked good early, with Parsons scoring 15 in the first quarter as the Mavericks led by as many as 11.It was the most unathletic front line weve ever had in the history of the NBA with him at five and me at four, said Parsons, who was 10 of 16 from the floor, including 5 of 9 from 3-point range. The biggest concern was who was going to do the jump ball.Facing their biggest deficit at seven to start the fourth quarter, the Mavericks opened with an 11-2 run capped by consecutive baskets from Charlie Villanueva, the latter a 3-pointer from the left corner after Rajon Rondo found him with a cross-court bounce pass that travelled about 40 feet.Carlisle brought Nowitzki back with 5:44 left, and he scored eight of the next 12 points for a 106-102 lead.TIP-INSThunder: Brooks said Durant had another good day at shootaround Sunday but was not ready for the next step. The Thunder have two days off before their next game. ... Reggie Jackson scored 21, including a 3-pointer that got Oklahoma City within a point before Dallas pulled away in the final 3 minutes. ... Thunder players other than Westbrook made 39 of 67 shots (58 per cent).Mavericks: Carlisle, whose career record is 591-409 in 13 seasons, had 188 career games as a player with Boston and New Jersey. Hes also coached at Indiana and Detroit. ... PG Raymond Felton, the other major piece in the New York trade, made his Dallas debut in a brief appearance on the same night Chandler missed his first game.FRONTCOURT CHALLENGEAs expected, the Mavericks were outrebounded, 53-37, without Chandler, whos third in the league in that category. But they held their own on second-chance points at 19-15, part of the reason they rallied.BANGED-UP BACKCOURT MATESMonta Ellis scored 18 for Dallas before spraining his left ankle late in the game. Rondo, who played the fourth quarter with a small bandage over his right eye after getting cut late in the third, had 15 points, seven assists and six rebounds.UP NEXTThunder: home against Phoenix on Wednesday.Mavericks: home against Washington on Tuesday before starting stretch of 14 of 19 on the road. Billy Howton Jersey
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. For Bergevin, the best pick is the 30th — which traditionally goes to the Stanley Cup winner. "Thats our goal.Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Its not like the Miami Heat playing well in the postseason is newsworthy, but the way theyre getting it done at the moment should terrify the remaining seven teams with a chance at the title. The fact the Heat are 6-0 is impressive enough, but with every victory, theyre building momentum. Are they going to go undefeated in the postseason? No, but in these early rounds, Miami is just having its way with Charlotte and now Brooklyn. Its not like the Heat need confidence what with winning the last two titles, but they did finish the regular season 11-14. Teams are trying to figure out ways to be at their best (in the playoffs), said MVP runner-up LeBron James. We have to continue to work our offense, work our defense, put ourselves in a position to be successful. The Heat have done that and it started on the defensive side of the ball. Miami has yet to allow 100 points in the postseason and surrenders an average of 89.3 points per game. Thats a stout improvement from the regular-season number of 97.4 ppg and the Heat rank No. 1 in the postseason in opponents scoring. Granted, the Bobcats at their best are offensively challenged and things became easier for Miami to defend when Al Jefferson got hurt. But, Brooklyn has firepower and the Heat have cooled them off, not allowing the Nets more than 86 points in either of their two games. With that side of the ball in good shape, the offense has been clicking. When one thinks of the Heat, the mind wanders inevitably to the Big Three of James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Its fair since theyre all going to the Hall of Fame, but the Heats versatility has been on display like that weird, hologram egg in Oceans Twelve. Eleven members of the Heat are averaging 10 minutes a game or more. Sure, not all have played in all six games, but when theyre out there, everyone is contributing. Look at the starters for example. Shane Battier played 2:04 of the entire series against Charlotte. Head coach Erik Spoelstra reinserted him in the starting lineup against the smaller Nets and hes 3-for-6 from beyond the 3- point line. Conversely, Spoelstra pulled the plug on Udonis Haslem since the Nets only play one player over 6 feet, 10 inches in height at any given time. Its been an underrated aspect of Spoelstras tenure in Miami -- his ability to sit players down and choose the right one. Battier sat out times against the San Antonio Spurs in last seasons NBA Finals. Same goes for Chris Andersen. Anyone want to bet Spoelstra employs more Haslem and Birdman in the next round when the Heat will face either the Indiana Pacers or the Washington Wizards? Both teams are bigger, so Spo will adapt. Spoelstra isnt Red Auerbach just for using the correct rotation, but his second-unit guys are paying dividends. The Heat bench ranked 17th in scoring during the regular season, but at least one Miami player has scored in double figures in five of their six postseason games and its been four different players. In fact, the Heat have had five double-figure scorers in the last three games, a great sign for a group that has, at times, been too reliant on letting James or Wade do their thing and everyone else watches with glowing admiration. We dont really care about who scores. Five guys in double figures once again tonight, so the ball is moving, James said after Thursdays Game 2 win. Guys are in a great rhythm. James may say he doesnt care who scores, but hes walking the talk. After averaging 30 points in the Bobcats series, LeBron is down to 22 ppg versus the Nets. His shot numbers remained steady and his assists are in decline against Brooklyn. So basically, the Heat are still winning convincinglyy with James not producing to his maximum.ddddddddddddIs that not the scariest thing imaginable? The Heat have been tested to some degree and many thought they would be considering the Nets went 4-0 against them in the regular season. Even if Brooklyn gets a game at home, Miami is going to advance. The Wizards could give them some trouble with their size, which is still a sore spot for Miami. The inexperience in the postseason will doom Washington against the Heat. For months, everyone has waited for the Miami/Indiana series, but at this stage, that matchup would be more anticlimactic than the ending to an M. Night Shyamalan movie (not including The Sixth Sense). Miami is poised for another deep run. Anything less than a fourth consecutive trip to the Finals would be shocking, but the Heat are doing their part. Theyre playing fantastic basketball and improved in important aspects from the regular season. Just wait until James plays like his dominant self. They might not lose. RANDOM THOUGHTS - Even if Donald Sterling doesnt tie up the NBA with litigation and delays, things might remain bad if he tries to sell the Los Angeles Clippers to his wife Shelly. Head coach Doc Rivers said it would be a very hard situation. That translates into some Clippers players or staff would have a problem with it, and then its gets really complicated. Remember, the players got everything they wanted from commissioner Adam Silver, so if they dont get what they want, what happens next? - Ill ask - what is the fascination with Steve Kerr? Hes never coached, didnt do all that well in his only capacity in the league as a personnel guy with the Phoenix Suns and, even if he has a good basketball mind, think of the ex-coaches on the sidelines and ask yourself, why are two teams fawning over Kerr? My theory is that once Phil Jackson expressed interest, which was basically from the day he was hired, maybe the Golden State Warriors and Utah Jazz thought, If Phil wants him, he must be something. Otherwise, Im kind of lost on this one. - George Karl, Lionel Hollins, Avery Johnson, Mike DAntoni, Mike Woodson and Mark Jackson are all available. Pick a Van Gundy. Nate McMillan and Byron Scott are, too. Lets not even discuss if Rick Adelman is serious about retirement, because then he should be a major candidate as well. This just drives home how strange it seems that Kerr is the leading candidate for two such highly attractive jobs. - Kobe Bryant wants some say in the next Los Angeles Lakers coach. This is a tricky issue. As the superstar, and one who can be tough to manage, it might make some sense to consult him. But, Bryant cant be the one making these decisions. Its too much power. In theory, the Lakers want a long-term solution and Bryants contract is for two years, so you do the math. - The San Antonio Spurs are demolishing the Blazers, but I give Portland some credit. There was a rattlesnake in the Blazers locker room Thursday. I wouldnt have played. Id have booked a seat on a plane back to Portland, or wouldve started jogging there if I couldnt find one in a suitable amount of time. - Love making the medias votes on awards public. It explains a lot of the strange votes. - Sticking with Heat versus Spurs in the Finals. - Movie moment - Planes is my 2-year-olds latest movie obsession. I can not wait until hes old enough for The Godfather. At this rate, Im going to show it to him when hes 4. - TV moment - 24 is still better than most of whats on television at the moment. My beef with the two-hour debut was it took all of 45 minutes to immediately circle back into regular 24 mode. Wouldve been a golden opportunity to shake up the plot structure a little. ' ' '