Nowitzki scores 40 as Mavs beat Jazz 102-96

Associated Press Modified: March 3, 2012 at 11:47 pm •  Published: March 3, 2012

DALLAS (AP) — Dirk Nowitzki made his first shot Saturday night, then scored again. When he connected again on his third attempt, the Dallas Mavericks knew exactly what to do.

Nowitzki scored a season-high 40 points and the Mavericks snapped a four-game losing streak with a 102-96 victory against the Utah Jazz.

"His shot making was there from the very beginning and the guys knew that," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. "They kept getting him the ball and he delivered all night long."

Nowitzki had 30 points when he went to the bench midway through the third quarter. It looked as if Nowitzki was going to relax the rest of the game as Dallas built a 23-point cushion in the fourth quarter.

The Jazz went on a big run to get within five points late. Nowitzki responded with a couple of big plays to help the Mavericks turn away the late rally.

"I had a good rhythm tonight," said Nowitzki, who scored 20 points in each half. "I had not been really been shooting the ball well, especially from 15 to 16 feet. I just wanted to be aggressive and my teammates kept feeding me."

Dallas forward Lamar Odom played for the first time after missing four games because of a family matter and personal reasons.

Odom was supposed to play Saturday night in the NBA Development League. Instead, he was recalled to play against the Jazz and scored nine points in 18 minutes. He also had five rebounds and blocked a season-high three shots.

"It was really personal, something I had to tend to," Odom said. "Mark Cuban is a great owner for understanding and knowing that sometimes we have to fix what's going on off the court in order for us to fix what's on the court."

Paul Millsap scored 24 points and Derrick Favors added 14 for Utah, which beat the Miami Heat 99-98 on Friday night.

In the opener of a five-game road trip, the Jazz fell to 3-13 away from home.

"We felt like we tried our best to contain them as much as possible," Millsap said. "But they hit some tough shots that took us out of the game."

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