Ellis, Mavs put away Nuggets in 4th, win 122-106

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 21, 2014 at 11:27 pm •  Published: March 21, 2014

DALLAS (AP) — Monta Ellis went crazy in the fourth quarter again.

This time, the Dallas Mavericks beat a Western Conference also-ran in their quest to get back to the playoffs.

Ellis scored 26 points, including 14 when the Mavericks pulled away in the fourth, and Dirk Nowitzki added 21 in a 122-106 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Friday night.

Two nights earlier, Ellis scored the last 12 points of regulation for Dallas to force overtime against Minnesota, but the Mavericks couldn't finish the rally in a potentially damaging loss. This time, he put the game out of reach.

"He was getting any shot he wanted," said Jae Crowder, who hit all four of his 3-pointers in the second quarter to help the Mavericks build the first of several leads they almost lost. "We ran the same play for him I'd say five or six times and they couldn't stop it, so he just kept making plays."

J.J. Hickson led Denver with 18 points and eight rebounds before leaving with a sprained right knee in the fourth quarter. Coach Brian Shaw said he would be re-evaluated Saturday.

"We made a lot of mistakes, and we don't have much margin for error," Shaw said. "All the credit goes to them. They're fighting for the playoffs."

The Mavericks led by 17 in the first half and had let a 15-point edge early in the fourth quarter dwindle to three.

Dallas had the margin back to 10 when Ellis finished things off with a tough jumper from the baseline and consecutive 3-pointers. He had a three-point play and three straight 3s in the fourth quarter of the 123-122 OT loss to the Timberwolves.

"Just taking what the defense gave me, being patient," said Ellis, who was 11 of 14 shooting and had seven assists. "We run the screen and roll, come off, see how the defense is playing and make the right plays."

The Mavericks avoided a season sweep by the Nuggets, who ran away with a win in Denver two weeks ago to hand Dallas its longest losing streak at three games.

Dallas (42-28) got a boost in the playoff race when Miami rallied from seven down in the last 3½ minutes to beat Memphis 91-86 Friday night. The Mavericks and Grizzlies (40-28) started the day in a virtual tie for the final two postseason spots in the Western Conference.

Vince Carter shook off a dislocated pinkie on his right hand in the first quarter to finish with 13.

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