DALLAS (AP) — Monta Ellis scored 22 points and the Dallas Mavericks matched a season high with their fourth consecutive victory, 103-81 over the last-place Utah Jazz on Friday night.
All-Star forward Dirk Nowitzki had 20 points while playing only 26½ minutes for the Mavericks, who moved a season-best nine games over. 500 at 30-21. It is only the second time they have been that far above the break-even mark since their 2010-11 NBA championship season.
Even with Utah at full strength, putting its best lineup on the floor and Marvin Williams making four 3-pointers in the game’s first 6 minutes, the Jazz lost their fourth game in a row.
Jazz starting center Derrick Favors was back after missing three games with an inflamed right hip and reserve forward Jeremy Evans had missed two games with a bruised tailbone and bruised right elbow. Utah has lost all six games Favors didn’t start this season.
Dallas’ only other four-game winning streak this season came in November, one capped by a 103-93 home win over the Jazz. The Mavericks play their last three games before the All-Star break on the road, then host Miami on Feb. 18 before three more games away from home.
Williams finished with 21 points while matching his career high with five 3-pointers. Trey Burke had 13 points and Richard Jefferson 10.
Jose Calderon and Samuel Dalembert each had 12 points for the Mavs.
Utah jumped out to a 21-14 lead in the first 6 minutes on the strength of Williams’ long-range shots. He already had 14 points by then.
With Nowitzki getting a breather, the Mavericks then scored 11 in a row as part of a 14-2 quarter-ending run to take the lead for good.
Ellis made it 21-all with a 20-foot jumper, and the tiebreaker came on Brandan Wright’s dunk with 3 minutes left in the first quarter.
After starting the game by making eight of 10 shots with five 3s, the Jazz missed seven shots in a row during that scoreless drought of more than 4 minutes. It was also during that stretch when Williams missed his first two shots — both on the same play, when he missed a layup and the follow-up tip try.
John Lucas III made a 19-foot jumper and a 3-pointer on consecutive possessions to get the Jazz within 35-34 with 7½ minutes left in the first half. They never got closer as Dallas went on a 17-3 run, including another spurt off 11 in a row during which Williams missed a slam dunk.
NOTES: The Jazz are 13-9 with the starting five of Jefferson, Williams, Favors, Gordon Hayward and rookie Burke. They are 3-24 with seven other starting combinations. … The halftime entertainment was the Texas Southern University band, with full drum line and loud horns. … After Ellis and Burke traded 3-pointers midway through the third quarter, Ellis then made a 22-footer and fed Shawn Marion for a dunk that made it 69-57. … Wright had another dunk, a one-hander on an alley-oop pass from Vince Carter late in the third quarter. … The season series will end with two games in Utah, on March 12 and April 8.