Rashard Lewis refused to let Seattle Sonics give away a game they'd dominated...
DALLAS – Rashard Lewis refused to let Seattle Sonics give away a game they’d dominated.
The small forward erased a fourth-quarter deficit then protected the lead with a high-flying baseline dunk, a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired and two free throws with 18.5 seconds to go in a 107-102 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night.
One night after becoming the first team this season to win in San Antonio, Seattle won its fourth straight and ninth in 10 games to reclaim the NBA’s best record at 17-3.
Dallas lost at home for the fifth time this season, matching last year’s total in just 12 games. More troubling for the Mavericks is that all the losses have come against winning teams.
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The Sonics were headed toward a rout, leading by between seven and 15 from early in the second quarter until early in the fourth. Then, Dallas used a 14-3 run to go ahead 87-86 with 7:08 left.
But Lewis couldn’t be denied. He scored 13 of his 25 points in the final period, often when Seattle really needed it.
He got the ball on the ensuing possession, went into the lane and drilled a 12-footer, putting Seattle right back on top. The Sonics never trailed again, although the game remained tight.
Dallas was within 99-95 when Lewis grabbed a rebound on the right baseline and flew to the rim, throwing down a thunderous dunk. He grabbed his jersey and screamed, silencing the crowd.
Fans were vocal again once Jerry Stackhouse converted a three-point play to make it 101-100 Seattle. The Sonics’ next possession was dangerously close to ending on a 24-second violation but Lewis swished a 3-pointer from the left side and again pumped his chest.
Michael Finley, activated from the injured list before tipoff, tried a 3-pointer with 22.9 seconds left that would’ve put Dallas up by one. But he hit the rim and the ball went out of bounds over the backboard.
Lewis was fouled on the inbounds, putting the Sonics ahead 106-102. Dallas missed two chances at the rim on their next series and that was it.
Ray Allen scored 22 points for Seattle and Vladimir Radmanovic had 18, including 5-of-7 on 3-pointers.
Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavericks with 27 points. Finley, who had missed 15 games with a sprained ankle, and Stackhouse both scored 19 and both had 10 in the final period.
Dallas had a scare when Nowitzki went down hard after being undercut by Seattle’s Luke Ridnour on a rebound with 4:44 left. Nowitzki was face-down on the court for several seconds, but shook it off during a timeout.
Sonics forward Danny Fortson, stuck at the end of Dallas’ bench last season, got a nice little ovation when he entered. He didn’t, however, get to hear the gong that he used to get when he entered games, a nod to his samurai-style haircut. … After the game, Nowitzki spoke to 500 German exchange students. … Seattle’s Antonio Daniels made an impressive buzzer-beater to end the first quarter: driving to his left, leaning and throwing a shot over Nowitzki that banged in off the backboard.