SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — With go-to scorer Dirk Nowitzki having an off night, the Dallas Mavericks relied on other offensive options to hold off the Sacramento Kings.
Monta Ellis scored eight of his 23 points in the fourth quarter and the Mavericks kept their playoff position with their third straight win, a 93-91 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Sunday.
The Mavericks won for the fourth time in five games to maintain seventh place in the Western Conference. It was the fifth straight road win for Dallas, which concludes its four-game road trip Tuesday in Utah.
"Every game is a playoff game right now," Dallas reserve center DeJuan Blair said.
The Kings defeated Dallas at home earlier this season and their three straight losses have been by a combined nine points. So with Nowitzki getting 15 points on 5-of-17 shooting, the Mavericks had to look elsewhere for a reliable scorer.
It was Ellis who stepped up in a tight fourth quarter. He made a crucial 3-pointer and converted all three free throws when Dallas was clinging to its slim lead down the stretch.
Ellis made a 3 at the 3:04 mark of the fourth quarter and converted a three-point play to give the Mavericks a 90-84 lead with 1:51 left.
"Monta saved the day in the fourth quarter," Nowitzki said. "He made that huge 3 and then he had the and-one (three-point play) on a pick and roll. He was phenomenal in the fourth quarter."
Rudy Gay had 32 points and tied a career high with eight assists for the Kings, DeMarcus Cousins added 28 points and 10 rebounds, and rookie point guard Ray McCallum had eight points and nine rebounds.
The Kings played their sixth straight game without starting point guard Isaiah Thomas (right quadriceps contusion), who is averaging 20.7 points and 6.4 assists per game.
"The Kings match up tough against us," said Blair, who had six points and nine rebounds in 17 minutes. "They have played us three tough games."
Vince Carter scored 17 points and Jose Calderon hit four 3-pointers and added 14 points for the Mavericks, who made 13 threes.
Nowitzki, who shot 64 percent and averaged 28.7 points in his previous three games, missed eight of his first 10 shots. Following a timeout early in the third quarter, Nowitzki hit a 19-footer and soon after made a 3-pointer.