SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – Overshadowed at times on a team stocked with scorers, Jose Barea is rarely the offensive focus late in the game for the Dallas Mavericks.
But it was Barea playing the biggest role late in Mavericks’s 10th straight victory.
The backup guard had 15 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter for the Mavericks, who held off the Sacramento Kings in a 102-100 victory Wednesday night.
With All-Star Dirk Nowitzki nursing a sore wrist and having an off game, Barea was encouraged to make plays in the fourth.
The 6-foot guard did just that, hitting a pair of 3-pointers and connecting on 6 of 8 shots overall in scoring over half of Dallas’s 28 fourth-quarter points. It was Barea’s fourth 20-plus point game of the season.
“They kept giving me the ball and it kept working out,” said Barea, who played 12 of his 21 minutes in the fourth quarter. “I love it. I love having the ball in my hands and making things happen.”
Samuel Dalembert had a season-high 20 points for Sacramento, including 12 in the fourth quarter. DeMarcus Cousins, who was ejected from the game with a pair of technicals, had 19 points and 15 rebounds and Tyreke Evans contributed 16 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.
The Kings have lost four straight, and for the 18th time this season they squandered a fourth-quarter lead. They have dropped seven straight games to the Mavs.
“Whatever problems we have had closing games, that was not evident tonight,” Kings coach Paul Westphal said. “We did everything that you need to win a game and came up short against a great team that did a little bit more to win the game.”
Jason Terry scored 22 points for Dallas, Jason Kidd had 14 points and eight rebounds and Tyson Chandler added 13 points. Nowitzki had 10 points on 4 of 14 shooting.
With Nowitzki missing all three shots in the fourth quarter, the Mavericks needed their typically reliable bench even more than ever. Nowitzki hurt his wrist in the first half Monday against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The X-rays were negative, but he had only three first-half points on 1 of 4 shooting.
“Dirk was struggling with the wrist,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. “Clearly his shot doesn’t feel right. Barea had a great game. In the fourth quarter he was our go-to guy and was making plays. He did a great job scoring and was battling on defense.”
The Mavericks took the lead on Terry’s 3-pointer and Barea added another one with the shot clock running down to put Dallas in front 100-95 with 1:31 remaining.
“The shot felt great, thank God it went in,” Barea said.
With the Kings trailing 100-98, Evans drove into a crowd and put up an airball and Nowitzki grabbed the rebound. Terry made two free throws with 4 seconds left to put the Mavericks ahead 102-98.
“Coach drew up the play. DeMarcus set a pick, Sam (Dalembert) set a pick, and I just tried to be aggressive,” Evans said. “They didn’t give us the call so I probably should have pulled up (for a jumper). It’s rare when a ref calls a foul like that at the end of the game.”
Terry made a free throw following a technical foul on Cousins. On Dallas’ next possession, Kidd buried a 3-pointer from the corner with 6:46 left to give the Mavericks an 89-84 lead.
Following an unproductive first half, Cousins was aggressive in the third quarter, getting 12 points and six rebounds to help the Kings rally from a nine-point deficit and close the gap to 74-73 heading into the fourth.
The Mavericks trailed for a large portion of the first, but closed out the second quarter with a 19-4 advantage that included a pair of 3-pointers by Kidd that sent Dallas into halftime with a 56-47 lead.
Terry scored 12 first-half points and Chandler had 11 for the Mavericks, who outscored the Kings 36-19 in the second quarter. Evans and Dalembert had eight points for the Kings.
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