Don't count out the Dallas Mavericks just yet, no matter how tempting they're making it.

After letting a 21-point lead turn into a nine-point deficit in the closing minutes, Dirk Nowitzki came alive with consecutive three-pointers to start a game-ending 15-0 run that carried the Mavericks past the Golden State Warriors, 118-112, last night. That guaranteed the NBA's best regular-season team at least one more game in the playoffs.

Golden State leads the Western Conference first-round series, 3-2. Game 6 is tomorrow at Golden State.

Nowitzki finished with 30 points and 12 rebounds and Josh Howard had 23 points and five assists for the Mavericks.

The Warriors were led by Baron Davis, who had 27 points.

In another game:

* At Toronto, Jose Calderon scored a career-high 25 points and Andrea Bargnani added 18 as the Raptors rebounded from two double-digit losses to defeat New Jersey, 98-96.

The Nets, who hold a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference first-round series, were led by Vince Carter's 30 points.

Game 6 is Friday in New Jersey.


* Former Houston Rockets guard Mario Elie interviewed for the Charlotte Bobcats' vacant head-coaching job.

* An academic study of NBA officiating found that white referees called fouls at a greater rate against black players than against white players, the New York Times reported on its Web site.

The study by Justin Wolfers, a Penn assistant professor and Joseph Price, a Cornell graduate student also found that black officials called fouls more frequently against white players than black, but noted that that tendency was not as pronounced.

"We'll reserve comment until we've had the chance to review the article," NBA spokesman Tim Frank said. *