DALLAS — A pair of backups led Dallas’ second-half charge, and the Mavericks earned a 99-92 comeback victory over the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday night at American Airlines Center.
Reserve guards Devin Harris and J.J. Barea combined for 27 points and eight assists as Dallas (39-20) finished off a perfect three-game homestand by rallying from a 13-point deficit.
The Atlantic Division-leading Raptors (37-20) ended a stretch of four road games in five nights, including Monday at New Orleans, with only their second three-game losing streak of the season.
The Mavericks have nine wins in the past 12 games going into Wednesday night’s visit to Atlanta, which owns the best record in the Eastern Conference. Toronto is second in the East.
“They are obviously one of the best teams in the East,” Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki said of the Raptors. “They play tough. They are good defensively, and they just came off a loss last night.
“I watched some of the game in New Orleans. They were up almost
20 and gave the game away a little bit, so we knew we were going to get their best shot. It was physical out there, but … we made enough plays and I thought we had good energy at the start.”
Dallas outscored the Raptors 25-15 in the fourth quarter. Barea provided the initial spark to start the fourth with five quick points, including a 3-pointer that gave Dallas its first lead (79-77) since the first period.
“When we really got it going late in the third quarter, we were taking care of the ball,” Barea said. “We were getting stops, and when we get stops, we’re going to finish the game.”
The Raptors led for much of the night before running out of gas down the stretch. Toronto scored only 37 points after halftime.
Raptors coach Dwane Casey admitted that his team was tired, leading to sloppy play in the second half.
“Well, our fatigue turnovers got us,” he said. “Turnovers were crucial, brutal, and led to baskets on the other end. Some of them were forced and some of them were unforced turnovers. That was the difference in the second half.”
Shooting guard DeMar DeRozan led Toronto with 18 points, but he made only seven of 21 shots. Point guard Kyle Lowry (11 points on 4-of-15 shooting) also struggled as the game went on.
The Mavericks tied the game at 71-all with two minutes left in the third on Harris’ layup. Toronto took a 77-74 lead into the final 12 minutes.
Barea scored 13, eight coming in the fourth. Harris came up big in the third, and he finished with 14 points, five assists and four steals. Dallas’ bench accounted for 42 points.
Mavericks shooting guard Monta Ellis topped all scorers with 20 points, and Nowitzki scored 18 and grabbed nine rebounds. Small forward Richard Jefferson had 11 points in place of usual starting forward Chandler Parsons, who missed his second consecutive game due to an ankle injury.
Another Dallas reserve, forward Al-Farouq Aminu, had nine points and 12 boards. Toronto had three double-digit scorers off the bench, led by guard Greivis Vazquez with 14 points.
The Raptors get a few needed nights off before returning home to host the Golden State Warriors on Friday.
“I thought we played the game the right way, with the right intentions, together, connected, and quality shots for the most part,” Casey said. “We continue to do that, build on it, get our bodies right, and some rest will help us.”