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Nowitzki scores 16 in 4th to lead Mavs past Spurs

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Dirk Nowitzki missed 13 of his first 16 shots, then found his groove at just the right time.

Nowitzki scored 16 of his 26 points during Dallas' 42-point fourth quarter, and the Mavericks overcame a 10-point deficit for a 112-103 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night.

" Dirk is a Hall of Fame basketball player,'' Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said, " and he showed why."

Trailing by 10 after three quarters, Nowitzki brought the Mavs back during a furious fourth. With a flurry of fadeaways, turnarounds and long-range jumpers, Nowitzki helped Dallas build an eight-point lead.

The Spurs pulled within four, 104-100, but Nowitzki held them back with a 3-pointer with 51 seconds to play.

" I was off all night long,'' said Nowitzki, who made 10 of 28 field-goal attempts. " I just made some big shots in the fourth."

Spurs forward Tim Duncan outperformed Nowitzki with 31 points and 12 rebounds, but the Mavs' star got strong support from five others who scored in double-figures: Jason Terry had 21 points, Erick Dampier added 14, and Shawn Marion and Tim Thomas each chipped in 12.

Tony Parker scored 21 points for the Spurs, who lost for the second time in three meetings this season against the Mavs.

" I thought we played very well for a long time and got to the fourth quarter and Dallas was absolutely fantastic," Popovich said.

The Mavs went cold in the third, missing seven straight shots. The Spurs took advantage, turning a two-point deficit into a 13-point lead. George Hill and Roger Mason Jr. each made a 3-pointer during a 15-0 San Antonio run. But the Mavs came clawing back in the fourth behind Nowitzki and Terry.

The tight, back-and-forth game featured 10 lead changes.

" It's a game of runs,'' said Mavs point guard Jason Kidd. " They got theirs. We got ours. We didn't panic. We kept playing and Dirk knocked down some big shots."

The Mavs led 47-43 late in the second quarter before the Spurs ripped off an 11-4 run. Parker sank a 19-foot jumper and made a layup, Duncan banked in a 13-footer, and Manu Ginobili swished a 3-pointer and followed by swiping the ball from Nowitzki.

Then Ginobili found Richard Jefferson for a dunk and a 54-51 Spurs lead at the break.

During an odd first half, Spurs center DeJuan Blair picked up two fouls in the first 1:10. Popovich launched into a tirade against referee Zach Zarba and got ejected. And the Spurs outshot the Mavs from the field, 63.2 percent to 43.5 percent, but trailed by as much as five.

" We played a good third quarter,'' Duncan said. " Gave ourselves a lead, talked about building on it going into the fourth quarter. But bit by bit they got back into it. Their shooters got hot and we didn't."

NOTES: Dampier returned to the lineup after missing the previous two games with a knee injury ... Parker played in his first game against the Mavs this season after missing the first two with injuries ... The Mavs are 13-6 on the road this season.

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