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Nowitzki, Mavs hit lucky 13

Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks won a game that Manu Ginobili said the Spurs needed but "just couldn't take."

San Antonio is getting used to that feeling when Dallas comes to town.

Nowitzki scored a season-high 36 points to lead the Mavs to their 13th straight victory, 90-85, over the Spurs last night in San Antonio.

The Spurs lost their third straight. It also was Dallas's third straight victory in San Antonio, dating to Game 7 of last season's Western Conference semifinals.

"Early we didn't play well. They got whatever they wanted, beat us to every loose ball, and they got too many offensive rebounds," Nowitzki said. "In the second half, our effort was a lot better. We had a bounce in our step. We kept making big plays."

Josh Howard added 18 points and 12 rebounds for Dallas.

San Antonio was led by Ginobili, who scored 25 points. "We needed it badly. We just couldn't take it, so we just got to give them credit," he said.

Suns 108, Heat 80 -- Steve Nash scored 22 points, Amare Stoudemire added 20, and host Phoenix won its fifth consecutive game over a Miami team that was without Dwayne Wade, Shaquille O'Neal, Wayne Simien, Antoine Walker, and James Posey.

Nets 91, Bulls 86 -- Vince Carter and Jason Kidd combined to score 10 straight points down the stretch, and host New Jersey rallied from an 18-point deficit to beat Chicago. Carter finished with 21 points, and Kidd had 17 points and 10 rebounds as the Nets earned their first three-game winning streak of the season. "This is a veteran ball club," Kidd said. "We never panic."

Rockets 100, Jazz 86 -- Tracy McGrady scored a season-high 44 points, topping 30 points for the fourth consecutive game, and host Houston rolled to its fifth straight victory. McGrady hit 14 of 31 shots and went 13 for 16 from the free throw line, reaching 40 points for the 39th time in his career. His career high is 62 points.

Dikembe Mutombo, 40, grabbed a season-best 19 rebounds after a quick motivational speech before the game, reminding the Rockets of their season-opening, 107-97 loss in Utah.

Wizards 116, Clippers 105 -- Gilbert Arenas scored 29 of his 35 points in the first half and added a season-high 12 assists, leading host Washington to victory before heading to his star-studded birthday celebration.

Arenas turns 25 today, and after the game, he was going to a D.C. club for an invitation-only birthday party hosted by Sean "Diddy" Combs. The black-tie, red-carpet fete was the talk of the locker room and the town the past few days.

Timberwolves 104, 76ers 102 -- After missing the potential game-winner at the end of regulation, Kevin Garnett made a 15-footer with Samuel Dalembert's hand in his face as the buzzer sounded in overtime to lift host Minnesota. Garnett finished with 25 points and 14 rebounds.

Lakers 123, Nuggets 104 -- Smush Parker (23 points) led five players in double figures as Los Angeles improved to 13-1 all-time against Denver at Staples Center. Kobe Bryant wasn't among the Lakers in double figures in coach Phil Jackson's 899th career victory. He finished with a season-low eight points after averaging 45 points in his previous four games.

Knicks 111, SuperSonics 93 -- Eddy Curry made all nine of his shots and had 27 points, Stephon Marbury scored 28, and visiting New York routed Seattle. The Knicks were chuckling about this one by halftime and laughing hysterically in the final minutes as fans in the emptying arena chanted for New York's Jerome James, a former Sonic.

Cavaliers 95, Bucks 86 -- With LeBron James struggling, Drew Gooden scored a season-high 31 points and grabbed 16 rebounds to rally visiting Cleveland. James, who came in averaging 30.8 points in 12 games against the Bucks, was shut down, managing only 8 points.

Magic 106, Bobcats 74 -- Dwight Howard had 22 points, 12 rebounds, and 4 blocked shots to lead host Orlando to its third straight victory.

Raptors 105, Hawks 92 -- Chris Bosh scored 21 points as Toronto handed visiting Atlanta its eighth straight defeat.

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