TORONTO, Nov. 6 (Ticker) -- Dirk Nowitzki and Michael Finley combined for 50 points as the Dallas Mavericks defeated the Toronto Raptors, 106-92, for their best start since the 1995-96 season.

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Nowitzki scored 28 points on 10-of-15 shooting and pulled down 13 rebounds while Finley was 3-of-3 from the arc and added 22 points.

Shawn Bradley made a strong contribution at center in place of injured starter Raef LaFrentz, scoring 14 points and pulling down 13 rebounds.

"We just hang in there and play our game," Nowitzki said. "I think we stepped it up defensively a little bit. We just tried to take their shots away and make them drive into our big people. Shawn played big and blocked up the middle. He rebounded well and allowed us to run it."

Bradley had a double-double filling in for Raef LaFrentz.
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"We knew we had our work cut out for us and it took 48 minutes to get the job done," added Bradley, who made 5-of-6 shots from the field and blocked four on the defensive end. "We dictated the tempo in the fourth quarter and we were able to control the game."

The Mavericks improved to 4-0 for the first time in seven years. In 1995-96, they followed the 4-0 start by losing 22 of the next 26 games.

"It's good for us to be going in the right direction and hopefully we can continue," Finley said. "Offensively, we have a lot of weapons, but defense will be our key, and tonight in the fourth quarter we took a step forward."

The Raptors were held to 17 points in the final period but reached 90 for just the seocnd time in five games.

Toronto took its first lead, 67-66, on Voshon Lenard's three-pointer with 2:56 left in the third quarter. But Dallas answered quickly, restoring a five-point lead heading into the final period before pulling away with a 29-10 run.

Lenard led five Raptors in double figures with 20 points. Lindsey Hunter chipped in 17 and Morris Peterson and Jerome Williams added 16 apiece.

Both teams were successful from long range, with Dallas connecting on 8-of-13 3-pointers and Toronto 7-of-18.

"I was pleased with the effort, no question about it," Toronto coach Lenny Wilkens said. "We never quit. We ran out of gas, but we worked real hard and guys extended themselves. We made a game of it and they didn't just walk all over us."

Toronto was without Vince Carter and Antonio Davis for the second straight game. Last season's leading scorers are sidelined at least a week with injuries suffered in Saturday's loss to Houston.

"We fought with the guys we have and we try not to make excuses, Lenard said. "We will try to ride it out as best we can until we get some guys back healthy."

The Raptors' injury woes continued when starting center Jelani McCoy left at 3:54 of the first quarter with tightness in his back and did not return. That left Wilkens with just seven players at his disposal.

Aside from Carter and Davis, forward Lamond Murray and centers Eric Montross and Hakeem Olajuwon are on the injured list. Toronto signed free agent center Greg Foster to help the depleted frontcourt.

"It's an advantage to come in here when they have some guys out of the lineup, but only an advantage if you win the game," Dallas coach Don Nelson said. "The pressure was on us to come through, and we did."

The Raptors lost for just the third time in their last 16 games without Carter in the lineup.