Late Mavs’ rally sinks Bulls

DALLAS — Dirk Nowitzki’s 3-pointer with 2.9 seconds left capped a stunning comeback as the Dallas Mavericks downed the Chicago Bulls 100-98 Saturday afternoon.

Jimmy Butler missed two free throws with 15.9 seconds left for the Bulls, who led by 12 with just over 4 minutes remaining.

Nate Robinson’s long 2-pointer at the buzzer went long. Robinson made seven 3-pointers.

Robinson scored the Bulls’ first 11 points of the fourth quarter to snap a tie. But the Bulls couldn’t win a season-high fourth straight.

The Bulls sank 12 of 22 3-pointers overall. Robinson finished with 25 points, as did Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer. Boozer added 11 rebounds.

Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavericks with 35 points.

The back-and-forth game featured not only hot shooting but 17 lead changes and seven ties.

Joakim Noah, Marco Belinelli, Richard Hamilton and Derrick Rose again sat for the Bulls.

“Marco is very close, but we just want to make sure. Abdominal strain, those things, you just want to make sure he’s right,” coach Tom Thibodeau said.

The Bulls finish a back-to-back Sunday at home against the Detroit Pistons.

“It’s whenever they’re ready,” Thibodeau said. “We want to be playing our best and we want to be as healthy as possible going down the stretch, so if that means one more day, two more days, so be it. But we just want to be smart about it moving forward.’’

For the Mavericks, O.J. Mayo played with a sore shoulder and missed his first 12 shots. The Bulls missed Nowitzki during their blowout victory in these teams’ last meeting last November. He didn’t miss on eight shots in the first half.

By K.C. Johnson, Tribune reporter

Copyright © 2013 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC

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