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Nowitzki lifts Mavericks past Bulls

DALLAS– Dirk Nowitzki hit a three-pointer with 2.9 seconds left and the Dallas Mavericks rallied to beat the Chicago Bulls 100-98 on Saturday.

The Mavericks trailed by 12 in the fourth quarter, but Nowitzki scored Dallas’ last eight points in a closing 15-1 run over the final 3 1/2 minutes of the game. He finished with a season-high 35 points.

After Jimmy Butler missed two free throws with 15.9 seconds remaining, Nowitzki connected on the winning three with Luol Deng running at him. Chicago’s Nate Robinson then missed a jumper at the buzzer that would have tied it. Robinson scored 14 of his 25 points in the fourth in Chicago’s first game since ending the Miami Heat’s 27-game winning streak.

Carlos Boozer and Deng also had 25 points for the Bulls, who had won three in a row.

Dallas (36-37) crept within a game of the Los Angeles Lakers and Utah Jazz for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Jazz played host to Brooklyn on Saturday night and the Lakers were at Sacramento.

The Mavericks trailed 97-85 after Deng hit the Bulls’ sixth three-pointer of the final period.

Nowitzki made a three to cut Dallas’ deficit to 97-95 with 53.9 seconds left. The Bulls, who missed three of four foul shots in the final minute, got a free throw from Boozer with 41.2 seconds remaining.

Nowitzki then hit a step-back jumper to get Dallas within one and Vince Carter fouled Butler, who was open on a cut near the basket.

Butler missed two free throws, and the Mavericks grabbed the rebound and headed up the court. After Nowitzki’s winning shot, the big German raised both hands toward the air as he walked back down the court.

Nowitzki hit his first eight shots and finished 14 of 17 from the floor.

Robinson’s jumper was well off and the Bulls were denied their season-high fourth straight victory.

Carter and Brandan Wright each scored 17 for the Mavericks, who finished 4-2 on a six-game homestand.

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