Despite their best attempt in the third quarter the Minnesota Timberwolves (15-16) lost to the Dallas Mavericks (18-13) 100-98.
Forward Shawn Marion scored a season-high 32 points, including two clutch 3-pointers in the fourth quarter. Dallas also got 16 points from forward Dirk Nowitzki and 14 from forward Brandan Wright off the bench, and all those points were needed to fend of the Wolves.
Minnesota was down by 21 early in the third quarter and they rallied back to take a three-point lead early in the fourth before Dallas made the final push.
Down by two with seconds remaining, coming out of a time out, the Wolves were unable to get a good shot off.
Love’s 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter gave the Wolves an 86-85 lead. Minnesota guard J.J. Barea’s runner made it 88-85, but the Mavs fought back.
Dallas Vince Carter hit two free throws to make it 90-89, and then Marion hit consecutive 3-pointers to give Dallas a 95-90 lead. Nowitzki’s jumper with less than three minutes left boosted the advantage to 97-90.
The Wolves fought back to within 98-96 on Pekovic’s layup with 1:38 left. Center Samuel Dalembert made two free throws with 47.5 seconds left for a four-point Mavs lead. Pekovic scored again, but that was the end of it.
The Mavericks proved difficult for the Wolves to stop in the first quarter. Dallas shot 54.2 percent, got points from six players — 10 from Marion — and scored the final six points of the quarter to build a 29-23 lead despite 12 points from Love and nine from Martin.
Dallas took the Wolves’ defense to task in the second quarter, which ended with the Mavs up 62-42. The Mavs ended the half on a 23-10 run.
Down 21 early in the quarter, Minnesota came back to tie the game with seconds remaining on Brewer’s fast-break dunk off a Love pass.
The Wolves got eight points from Martin and seven from Brewer in a 21-6 run that pulled them within six. Dallas pushed the lead back to 77-66, but then the Wolves finished the quarter on a 15-4 run — with Love scoring eight, Brewer seven — to send the game into the fourth quarter tied. Brewer had 14 points in the quarter, Love 12.