PORTLAND, Oregon, Dec. 4 (Ticker) -- The Dallas Mavericks have the depth and versatility that the Portland Trail Blazers once featured.

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Dirk Nowitzki had 26 points and 15 rebounds and was part of a 3-point barrage in the second quarter as the Mavericks continued their terrific start with a 103-88 stomping of the Trail Blazers.

Dallas improved to 17-1, matching the fourth-best one-loss start in NBA history by both the 1970-71 and 1971-72 Milwaukee Bucks. The 1969-70 New York Knicks hold the record at 23-1.

In the second quarter, the Mavs erased a one-point deficit with a 20-4 burst that included five straight 3-pointers. The 7-foot Nowitzki and 6-11 Raef LaFrentz made two each and reserve guard Nick Van Exel had the other.

"If we're on, we're pretty hard to guard," Nowitzki said. "We penetrate. We kick. You can't leave anyone open. We haven't really shot the ball well lately at all, so it's really funny how every one should be kicking at the same time."

"They have a lot of shooters who get into positions," Trail Blazers coach Maurice Cheeks said. "If you don't switch them off, that allows them to get wide open. That's the pick and roll, so they can spot up players. They swing the ball extremely well. What we failed to do was make them make that extra pass."

Dallas is the NBA's most talented team, an honor that used to belong to Portland. The Trail Blazers have stockpiled talent over the last three years but have not been able to develop the proper chemistry, dropping from the ranks of contender.

"They have a lot of interchangeable guys who can shoot the basketball," Cheeks said. "They are not just guys who come off the bench and fill their game. These are guys who can actually shoot the basketball and that's their basketball game."

"Their general manager did a great job in getting the pieces in there where they can spread guys out and shoot the ball in all five positions," Blazers guard Bonzi Wells said. "And they're doing a great job as a coaching staff in getting guy in spots to hit shots in."

In the second half, Steve Nash scored 18 of his 20 points as Dallas toyed with Portland, leading by at least seven points and by as many as 22.

"We're an offensive team, so we cause teams a lot of problems, even the best offensive teams," Nash said. "When we're rolling, we're tough to stop."

Van Exel had 17 points and seven assists and Michael Finley added 15 and 10 rebounds for the Mavs, who have won three straight games. Dallas made 13-of-28 3-pointers and shot 46 percent (41-of-90) overall.

"We haven't been as good there this year so far," Dallas coach Don Nelson said. "I don't know what the reason is other than it's kind of fate, maybe we haven't had to shoot them or needed them, but we still feel confident that we can shoot the three when it is there."

"If you shoot threes the way they shot tonight, ain't nobody going to beat them," Blazers forward Scottie Pippen said.

Rasheed Wallace had a season-high 34 points and 12 rebounds and Dale Davis added 15 and 12 for Portland, which shot under 40 percent (36-of-91) and lost for the third time in four games.

Wallace's dunk gave the Blazers a 32-31 lead with 8:53 left in the second quarter. A jumper by Van Exel gave the Mavs the lead for good at 36-34 and the onslaught began. Over the next three-plus minutes, Dallas drilled five 3-pointers to open a 51-36 lead with 3:09 remaining.

"They shot the life out of the ball, man," Wells said. "That team, they spread you out really well. They can shoot from the 1 (point guard) through the 5 (center). It just makes it tough on our defense. Everybody has to rotate and guard someone and it's just tough."

Portland closed to 54-45 at halftime and a layup by Wallace made it 76-69 with 2:08 left in the third quarter. Van Exel answered with a jumper, and the final period began with baskets from Finley and Nowitzki, pushing the lead to 82-69 with 10:17 to play.

Derek Anderson scored 13 points for the Blazers, who have lost five of the last seven meetings with the Mavs.