DALLAS (AP) – With starting point guard Jason Terry hampered by a strained right hamstring, the Dallas Mavericks needed some help in their backcourt.

Devin Harris gave Dallas a lift off the bench with 19 points, including a 13-for-17 performance from the free throw line, and the Mavericks extended their winning streak to five games with a 103-94 victory over the Boston Celtics on Saturday night.

Harris’ ability to penetrate and break down the Boston defense resulted in Harris’ career highs for foul shots made and attempted.

“I just attacked the basket,” Harris said. “That’s why I got (to the free throw line) so often.”

Terry had missed the previous two games but he got pregame treatment for the injury and started against Boston despite being at less than full strength. He finished with 12 points in 221/2 minutes.

“It’s an injury that will be there, but I can play through it,” Terry said. “I’m not 100 percent, but I was able to get up and down.”

Dirk Nowitzki led Dallas with 24 points, nine rebounds and converted all 10 free throw attempts. Adrian Griffin added 11 points and 10 rebounds, and Marquis Daniels had 15 points for the Mavericks, who’ve taken 12 of the last 14 meetings with the Celtics.

Dallas won the game on the free throw line, connecting on 33 of 43 attempts.

Boston got to the line only 14 times, converting eight.

“I thought we attacked the basket as much as them, but we didn’t go to the line,” Boston coach Doc Rivers said. “They were more forceful.”

Paul Pierce led Boston with 28 points. Al Jefferson added 21 points and 12 rebounds, both career highs, and Ricky Davis had 20 points for the Celtics, who wrapped up a 2-3 trip.

Pierce sustained a bruised right ankle in the third quarter after a collision with Harris under the Boston basket, but stayed in the game.

Rivers said Pierce told him during a timeout that if he sat down, he wouldn’t be able to get back up.

“If we take him out with the bruise, we would have had to keep him out,” Rivers said.

The Celtics trailed by as many as 17 in the third, but Boston pulled within one at 88-87 with 4:44 to play on Jefferson’s follow. Dallas answered with eight consecutive points, four from Nowitzki, for a 96-87 edge.

After Jefferson’s basket, Boston missed eight straight field goal attempts and was unable to score again until Pierce’s 3-pointer with 43 seconds left that got the Celtics to 96-90. DeSagana Diop blocked two layup attempts by Boston’s Raef LaFrentz in the final 3 minutes.

“We had good shots and good execution,” Rivers said. “Three of them were layups that were blocked and two were open looks.”

Dallas converted seven of eight free throws in the last 42 seconds.

“It was a game of waves,” Dallas coach Avery Johnson said. “We had a big lead and they got it down to one. It just shows we have a lot to work on. We aren’t a team that has arrived yet. We don’t have the ability to put away teams like I would like to.”

Diop’s defense was a key down the stretch and he finished with five blocked shots.

“He made some key blocks and got some key rebounds,” Harris said. “We know if we do make a mistake, it helps the defense knowing we’ve got a shot-blocker back there.”

The Mavericks began the third quarter with a 17-5 run capped by Harris’ dunk to open a 69-52 advantage.

But Boston rallied, finishing the third quarter with a 13-5 spurt to reduce the deficit to 76-67 entering the final quarter.

Notes: Dallas committed only nine turnovers, its second lowest total this season. … Mark Blount replaced LaFrentz in Boston’s starting lineup. Blount had 19 points off the bench in each of the previous two games, but finished with only four points as a starter Saturday night. He missed a wide-open dunk in the first quarter. … Boston shot 53 percent from the field to Dallas’ 47 percent. … The Mavericks are 8-1 when scoring 100 or more points.

AP-ES-12-11-05 0012EST


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