SACRAMENTO, Calif. — In most situations, Steve Nash is content to set up Dirk Nowitzki or Michael Finley on the Dallas Mavericks' biggest shots.
In the closing seconds of regulation against the Sacramento Kings, Nash threw off his point guard instincts and took the big shot himself — twice, in fact.
The All-Star hit a tying 3-pointer with 2.5 seconds left, then scored 12 points in overtime as Dallas beat Sacramento 129-123 Sunday — avoiding a season sweep by another prime title contender.
Nash finished with 27 points and 10 assists as the Mavericks got their league-high 50th victory of the season. But it was Nash's tying shot — set up by Finley's heady offensive rebound of Nash's initial miss — that set up the Mavericks' overtime surge.
"I don't mind stepping up," Nash said.
Nash led Dallas to a confidence-boosting win. Despite the Mavericks' run to the top of the league standings, they had lost seven of their previous eight games against Sacramento: a 4-1 series defeat in last spring's conference semifinals, and three straight season losses.
"I felt we deserved it," Nash said. "I thought we played well enough and hard enough. I've been saying we're good enough to beat these guys for a year now. We deserved a break at the end of the game. We got one by getting an offensive rebound and getting a second chance at the 3."
Nowitzki had 34 points and a season-high 18 rebounds, while Finley scored 21 points as the Mavericks displayed all of the poise and execution many doubted they could produce against the veteran Kings.
ROCKETS 85, SUNS 75: At Houston, Yao Ming scored 20 points as the Rockets took the season series 3-1 and earned the tiebreaker between the two teams jockeying for eighth place in the West.
The Rockets improved their longest winning streak since the 1999-00 season to five games.
76ERS 92, NETS 87: At East Rutherford, N.J., Allen Iverson hit a go-ahead layup with just over a minute remaining, and Philadelphia moved within a half-game of first place in the Atlantic Division.
Iverson finished with 31 points and the 76ers held the Nets without a basket for the final 8:56 in winning for the 14th time in 16 games since the All-Star break.
TIMBERWOLVES 111, TRAIL BLAZERS 95: At Minneapolis, Kevin Garnett had his fifth triple-double of the season — 17 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists — and Wally Szczerbiak scored 20 points.
GRIZZLIES 124, HAWKS 92: At Memphis, Tenn., Pau Gasol and Shane Battier scored 22 points each as Grizzlies set franchise records with their sixth straight win and their 24th victory of the season.
SPURS 108, BULLS 97: At San Antonio, Tony Parker scored 25 points, Tim Duncan added 22 before leaving with a sprained ankle and San Antonio won its sixth in a row.
KNICKS 120, BUCKS 111: At New York, Allan Houston scored 50 points as the Knicks moved a game closer to one of the teams they are chasing for the eighth playoff spot in the East.
SUPERSONICS 92, NUGGETS 84: At Denver, Rashard Lewis scored 24 points and Ray Allen 20, and Seattle used an 8-0 run in the fourth quarter to hold off the Nuggets.
CLIPPERS 111, RAPTORS 110: At Los Angeles, Lamar Odom scored 26 points, including a 17-footer with 2.3 seconds remaining, and Vince Carter missed a 20-footer just before the final buzzer.