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Associated Press, Published February 10 2012

Nowitzki, Mavericks hold off Timberwolves

MINNEAPOLIS – Dirk Nowitzki welcomed Kevin Love back from his two-game suspension with a season-high 33 points, winning the matchup of Western Conference All-Star power forwards and helping the Dallas Mavericks stave off a Minnesota rally with 104-97 victory over the Timberwolves on Friday.

Nowitzki topped 24 points for the fourth straight game by shooting 11 for 19 from the floor, including 4 of 7 from 3-point range. Love finished with 32 points and 12 rebounds, going 14 for 14 from the free-throw line, and sparked a late-third-quarter surge by the Wolves to slash a 17-point deficit to 78-75 on Nikola Pekovic’s putback to open the fourth.

But they missed a chance to sweep the season series from the Mavericks for the first time since 1995-96.

Dallas 29 27 22 26 – 104

Minnesota 16 29 28 24 – 97

DALLAS (104): Marion 4-8 1-2 9, Nowitzki 11-19 7-10 33, Haywood 1-2 0-0 2, Kidd 2-4 2-2 8, Carter 4-10 3-3 12, West 4-9 2-2 10, Odom 3-8 0-0 6, Terry 7-21 0-0 16, Mahinmi 0-2 1-2 1, Wright 2-6 1-2 5, Yi 1-1 0-0 2, Cardinal 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 39-90 17-23 104.

MINNESOTA (97): Johnson 0-3 1-2 1, Love 9-18 14-14 32, Pekovic 6-14 0-0 12, Rubio 2-8 5-6 10, Ridnour 2-8 1-1 5, Beasley 8-11 0-0 20, Webster 2-3 1-2 5, Barea 1-8 3-4 6, D.Williams 2-6 2-2 6, Tolliver 0-0 0-0 0, Ellington 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 32-79 27-31 97.

3-Point Goals_Dallas 9-21 (Nowitzki 4-7, Kidd 2-3, Terry 2-7, Carter 1-2, West 0-1, Odom 0-1), Minnesota 6-23 (Beasley 4-5, Rubio 1-4, Barea 1-4, Webster 0-1, D.Williams 0-1, Johnson 0-2, Ridnour 0-3, Love 0-3). Fouled Out_None. Rebounds_Dallas 49 (Marion 8), Minnesota 59 (Love 12). Assists_Dallas 25 (Kidd 10), Minnesota 20 (Rubio 8). Total Fouls_Dallas 28, Minnesota 21. Technicals_West, Minnesota defensive three second. A_17,119 (19,356).