Nowitzki atones for first-half flop

MIKE GANTER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:43 AM ET

Dirk Nowitzki didn't even recognize himself in the first half.

Given open shot after open shot, Nowitzki took aim, fired and, more often than not, wound up shaking his head in frustration.

For whatever reason, Nowitzki couldn't get anything to fall in the first 24 minutes last night.

Unfortunately for the Raptors he more than made up for those lapses in the second half.

Shooting just 2-for-12 and five points in the first half, Nowitzki got it going in the third, going 5-for-8 for 11 points, and then finished off the comeback with another 13 points in the fourth quarter of the Mavs' win.

"I was actually surprised how open I was even in the second half when I was shooting a little better," Nowitzki said, zeroing in one of the Raptors' biggest flaws last night.

The Mavericks took full advantage of Sam Mitchell's smaller lineup, getting mismatches on switches which left Nowitzki shooting over guards Mike James and Jose Calderon for most of his game-high 29 points.

"That's why I was so frustrated because I had these open shots in the first half and I couldn't make them," Nowitzki said. "But the team was great. They just told me to keep on shooting and I was able to knock them down (eventually)."

The game-winning basket by Jason Terry originally was drawn up as a play for Nowitzki.

"The first one was drawn up for me," he said. "I came off a screen and they double-teamed me so we called a timeout. I knew they weren't going to let me catch the ball and win the game so we changed the call, called Jason's number and he came up big."

Terry, who had missed two free throws with just over a minute to go, made amends with a running jumper over Chris Bosh for the winning basket.

Head coach Avery Johnson gave credit for the winning play to assistant coach Del Harris.

"I had a couple of things that I wanted to do, but Coach gave me a suggestion on something that he ran before and he liked. That's what's good about having a good experienced coach like Coach Harris."


Videos

Photos