- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 22, 2014

TORONTO (AP) - With Dirk Nowitzki watching from the bench in street clothes, the Dallas Mavericks blew another big lead against the Toronto Raptors.

DeMar DeRozan scored a career-high 40 points, Greivis Vasquez had 17 and the Raptors snapped a two-game losing streak by beating the Mavericks 93-85 on Wednesday night.

Dallas coach Rick Carlisle wasn’t second guessing his decision to give Nowitzki the night off as the Mavericks played for the 11th time in 18 days.

“It was just the right thing to do, the right thing for him, for the organization,” Carlisle said. “He needed a day to rest.”

Carlisle said Nowitzki will return when the Mavericks visit Brooklyn on Friday night. Nowitzki leads Dallas with an average of 21.1 points per game.

Jae Crowder started in place of the 34-year-old Nowitzki, who missed his second game of the season. Nowitzki sat out a Dec. 14 win over Milwaukee due to illness.

Monta Ellis had 21 points while Jose Calderon and Brandan Wright each had 13 for Dallas, but the Mavericks hurt themselves with 21 turnovers, including nine in the fourth quarter. They led by 21 in the first quarter and by five going into the fourth.

“Very frustrating,” Mavericks swingman Vince Carter said. “This is a game we should have won, regardless of whether Dirk was on the floor or not.”

Jonas Valanciunas had 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Raptors, who overcame a 21-point, first-quarter deficit, the fifth-biggest comeback in franchise history.

Toronto rallied from a 19-point deficit to beat the Mavericks 109-108 in overtime in their last meeting, Dec. 20 in Dallas.

“This is the year of no lead too big, no deficit too great,” Carlisle said. “You’re seeing big leads disappear all the time.

“We’ve got to be better with leads because they’re hard to get.”

Toronto blew a 17-point lead in the third quarter and lost at home to the Lakers on Sunday. They fell behind by 30 at Charlotte on Monday before cutting the deficit to one, but ended up losing again.

With those defeats in mind, DeRozan wasn’t about to let this one slip away.

“This loss would have hurt,” DeRozan said. “We didn’t want to lose three in a row. I was just telling myself just try and do as much as I can to win, try to pull this one off and keep my team in it.”

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