Nowitzki returns to hit 3, Mavs top Wiz 105-102
WASHINGTON (AP) With his Dallas Mavericks locked in a tight fourth quarter, Dirk Nowitzki twisted his left ankle by accidentally stepping on an opponent's foot, then fell to the court.
Moments later, Nowitzki was limping off to the locker room to get his ankle taped.
And minutes after that, he was back in the game, delivering a key basket.
Nowitzki's 3-pointer with 80 seconds left sealed a fifth consecutive victory for Dallas, 105-102 over the Washington Wizards, after Monta Ellis scored 24 of his 34 points in the first half Wednesday night.
''It was a close game, so if I can walk, I want to be out there. And it actually felt OK, once it loosened up,'' said Nowitzki, who on Monday became the fourth NBA player to reach 27,000 points with one franchise.
''Just rolled (the ankle) a little bit, like I've done a million times in my career. Just had to walk it off coming back here, re-taped it and came right back out,'' Nowitzki said, before adding with a laugh: ''Popped some pills.''
Nowitzki went down with about eight minutes left after getting tangled with Kris Humphries. But the German came back with 3 1/2 minutes to go and Dallas trailing by a point.
After sinking his important 3 to put the Mavs ahead 102-97 - part of a 13-point night on 4-for-12 shooting - Nowitzki held out three fingers on one hand and slammed it against his other palm.
''Monster shot,'' Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. ''And even though he didn't have a great night shooting the ball or scoring, his ability to make timely plays and change the dimensions of the court show what his impact is.''
Washington lost at home for the first time this season, despite Bradley Beal's first action following left wrist surgery.
Beal was terrific, too, leading Washington with 21 points, and even drawing a charge on Ellis with about 30 seconds to go. But with a chance to tie the game, John Wall missed a 3-pointer at the other end. Ellis then made two free throws to push Dallas' edge to five points.
Over the first two quarters, Ellis made seven of 10 shots, including a 3-pointer, and nine of 10 free throws.
''Nobody else on their team touched the ball,'' Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. ''And I was fine with that.''
Later, though, reserves J.J. Barea and Brandan Wright got involved, each scoring 14 points for Dallas, which leads the NBA in scoring.
Wittman criticized his players for getting discouraged after a poor start to the third quarter.
''We've got to grow up from an emotional standpoint,'' Wittman said, adding: ''We quit playing, is the way I term it.''
Barea and Wright combined for 18 of Dallas' fourth-quarter points. Wright shot 6 for 7, repeatedly turning lobs and alley-oops into dunks or easy layups. ''Dude is one of the most athletic guys in the league. He does some freakish things out there,'' teammate Tyson Chandler said. ''I don't think you can overthrow him.''
HITTING A WALL
Wall, Washington's All-Star point guard, missed his first eight shots and finished 5 for 17 for 11 points.
Wittman and Beal both said the shooting guard felt winded by game's end. Beal had wrist surgery last month and began practicing this week. ''It was a big lift, just to see him come out there confident, especially after so much time off,'' teammate Paul Pierce said. ''Seems like he really didn't miss a beat.''
Mavericks: G Devin Harris sat out with right lower leg soreness. ... Dallas came in scoring 109.3 points per game.
Wizards: The Wizards had been 4-0 at home. The last time Washington's NBA team started a season 5-0 at home was in 1974-75, when the franchise was known as the Bullets.
Mavericks: Host Lakers on Friday.
Wizards: Host Cavaliers on Friday.
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