WASHINGTON (AP) — If the Dallas Mavericks make an unlikely run to the playoffs, their final quarter on Wednesday night might turn out to be the start of it.
Dirk Nowitzki scored 10 of his 20 points and Seth Curry added 10 of his 19 in the fourth, and the Mavericks used their highest-scoring period of the season to complete a 112-107 victory over the Washington Wizards that boosted their slim playoff hopes.
“We desperately needed this game,” said Dallas coach Rick Carlisle, whose team outscored Washington 39-27 in the fourth quarter. “Our guys knew it.”
Harrison Barnes had 22 points for the Mavericks, who began the night tied for 10th place in the Western Conference, 3 1/2 games behind Denver for the eighth and final playoff spot.
Nicolas Brussino scored eight of his 11 points off the bench in the fourth as Dallas snapped a two-game skid, two days after an ugly 100-77 loss in Toronto.
“We’re still trying to chase the eighth seed even though it doesn’t look good after the last two losses,” Nowitzki said. “We’re going to keep plugging.”
Wizards guard John Wall had 26 points and 11 assists despite briefly leaving the game in the second quarter with a sprained left foot.
He scored Washington’s final nine points and played more than 36 minutes, but admitted he did not feel 100 percent.
“I just gutted it out, but it’s pretty sore,” said Wall, who isn’t sure if he will play in his team’s next game on Friday.
“I have no idea right now, to be honest,” he said.
Bradley Beal added 24 points, and Otto Porter had 14 points and 10 rebounds as Washington dropped back-to-back games for the second time since its previous loss to Dallas on Jan. 3.
Fresh off a 4-1 road trip, the third-place Wizards never trailed in the opening three quarters. They led by as many as 12 in the third and by seven at the end of it.
Dallas responded by opening the fourth on a 24-7 run. Yogi Ferrell’s 3-pointer tied it at 84, and Nowitzki’s jumper made it 89-87 with 7:25 left.
Brussino hit a pair of 3-pointers to stretch the lead to eight, and Nerlens Noel’s follow-up dunk made it 97-87 and convinced Wizards coach Scott Brooks to call a second timeout in 72 seconds.
“We were one or two plays away from making this a game,” Nowitzki said. “With the amount of shooters we have . we can always make two 3s and make a quick run. So that’s what happened.”
A SILENT ANSWER
Brussino’s 11 points and nine rebounds set career highs for the 24-year-old rookie from Argentina.
With a translator by his side, the Spanish speaker flashed a silent smile when asked if he knew how close he was to his first NBA double-double.
“He just answered that for you,” the translator joked.
NERLENS’ NIGHT BACK
Noel scored 12 points and played 22 minutes after missing three games with a sore right knee. His two free throws with 1.7 seconds left sealed the win.
“The two free throws were huge. The dunk he had when we shot an airball was an enormous momentum play,” Carlisle said. “We need him.”
SCARY MOMENT FOR WASHINGTON
Wall left briefly late in the second quarter after an awkward fall on a transition layup attempt. Defended by Noel, the four-time All-Star remained on the ground after his shot hit the underside of the rim, until Washington called a timeout 13 seconds later.
Wall was helped to his feet before limping to the locker room under his own power. He started the second half.
“I’m just going to listen to whatever the doctors and trainers tell me to do,” Wall said. “They’ll probably have a discussion and I’ll find out later on tonight.”
Mavericks: Trailed 28-27 after making 11 of their first 15 shots (73.3 percent). … G J.J. Barea had a season-high 13 assists. … G Wesley Matthews sat out with a right calf strain.
Wizards: Led after the first quarter for the first time in four games. … Scored 39 first-quarter points, one short of their most in a period this season. … Did not commit a turnover until the second quarter, but finished with 12.
Mavericks: At the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night in Noel’s first game against his former team.
Wizards: Welcome another team on the fringe of the playoff picture when the Chicago Bulls visit on Friday.
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