Utah Jazz: Nowitzki destroys Jazz with fourth-quarter scoring explosion

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 4 2009 12:00 a.m. MST

Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki, top left, goes to the basket against the Jazz's Andrei Kirilenko.

Donna McWilliam, Associated Press

DALLAS — After they blew one game Tuesday night, the Jazz started playing another.

It was shoulda, coulda, woulda, and every time they took a turn, Dirk Nowitzki kept coming up the winner.

The NBA's 2007 MVP scored a Jordanesque 40 points, including a franchise-record 29 in the fourth quarter as Dallas overcame a 16-point Jazz lead in the final period and beat Utah 96-85 at American Airlines Center.

It was the fourth straight time in Dallas that Nowitzki's scored 30-plus-points against the now 1-3 Jazz, and the 12th time in 13 tries — including five straight — that Utah has lost here.

"Just another game, same story," said Jazz point guard Deron Williams, whose 22 points were a team-high.

Asked if anything could have been done differently, one Jazz player after another seemed to be at a loss.

"It's Dirk," Williams said. "He's been clutch all of his career.

"There's always something else you can do," the Jazz point guard added. "It's just tough. It's tough when (power forward Carlos) Boozer has five fouls, Memo (center Mehmet Okur) has a bad leg. Maybe I should have switched on him."

Boozer, who finished 6-for-12 from the field but opened 1-for-6 and had just four of his 12 points at halftime, played just three minutes in the third quarter because of foul issues.

"It seemed like he either made his shot or he was shooting free throws," Boozer said. "I thought we couldn't be physical with him, couldn't touch him too much without them calling a foul on us.

"Obviously he was aggressive; he's a great player. But I thought we were doing a decent job. But anytime we touched him, they called a foul. So, there's not too much you can do when you can't be physical with somebody."

Okur, meanwhile, was in his second game back after missing one with a mildly sprained left ankle and left knee.

"I could have done a better job on him, maybe deny a little bit," Okur said.

Jazz coach Jerry Sloan, too, was thinking afterward about what might have been done differently.

"There wasn't anything, obviously, we were able to do with Nowitzki," he said.

"We put Memo on him, and I don't think we did a very good job," he said. "He was sensational. Made every basket, got to the free-throw line."

While Nowitzki was on his tear, at one point scoring 27 of 31 Dallas fourth-quarter points, the Jazz were troubled by turnovers.

Utah had four in the final quarter, including one by Andrei Kirilenko, with the Jazz — who closed the third quarter on a 22-6 run, and twice led in the fourth by 16 — still up 79-73 and another when Boozer zipped a pass past Ronnie Brewer with the Jazz ahead 83-78.

"You could feel the momentum kind of shift in that situation," Sloan said, "because they had the spirit, and when we turned the ball over a couple times we felt sorry for ourselves."

Nowitzki muscled through the lane and, after getting fouled by Okur, hit the free throw that followed to make it 83-81 on the possession following Boozer's miscue. He later cut and took a Jason Kidd feed to tie it at 83 with about 21/2 minutes remaining.

When he scored to put Dallas ahead to stay at 85-83, Nowitzki stuck out his tongue a la Michael Jordan. He later bumped chests with Kidd near midcourt, and left to a standing ovation after Dallas coach Rick Carlisle replaced him with ex-Jazz forward Kris Humprhies in the final minute.

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