DALLAS, Jan. 2 (Ticker) -- Dirk Nowitzki
and the Dallas Mavericks
looked quite refreshed after their four-day layoff.
Nowitzki scored 39 points and led four players in double
figures, as the Mavericks defeated the woeful Milwaukee Bucks,
123-104, for their third straight win.
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"We talked about coming out and setting the standard early in
this homestand," Nowitzki said. "It (has) been working well."
Entering the game third in the NBA in scoring, Nowitzki scored
21 points in the first half, marking the third straight game he
has reached 20 in a half.
"I have to be aggressive on the offensive end," Nowitzki said.
"Usually when I'm aggressive, it helps my teammates because I
demand a little more attention. I've been trying to mix it up,
drive a little more this year and get to the basket or get
Nowitzki and Erick Dampier
combined to score 21 points on
10-of-11 shooting in the first quarter, helping Dallas shoot 65
percent (15-of-23) and open a 33-19 lead.
"They came out and did a really good job of making shots," Bucks
coach Terry Porter said. "We had some stretches where we
turned it over and they were off to the races."
Dampier has been dominant for the Mavericks with nine dunks in
the first quarter of the last two games.
"Damp (has) to be aggressive for us to go somewhere," Nowitzki
said. "He's been playing great lately. He's pump-faking and
going up there and dunking the ball. He's getting fouled.
That's what we need."
The Mavericks extended the lead to 22 points before Milwaukee
gradually closed to 88-80 behind Maurice Williams
, who scored 11
points in the third quarter.
"They feed off of me so I've got to set the tone," Williams
said. "I felt like in the first quarter I was real passive. I
wanted to come out in the second half and be more aggressive."
"Even though we had a comfortable lead, it felt like with a
couple of shots, they could have been right back in it,"
Nowitzki said. "It should have been a lot easier on us. But at
this point, we're taking the win."
scored 11 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter to
keep the Bucks at bay. Howard also led the Mavericks with 13
"I'm staying aggressive, hitting the glass (and) cleaning
up," Howard said. "A lot of the shots were going through Fin
) and Dirk. I was just on the glass cleaning up,
running the floor and doing the little things to help my team
came off the bench to score 18 points and Jason Terry
handed out 10 assists for Dallas.
"It's starting to come together for me," Stackhouse said. "I'm
looking at the new year with a lot of resolve and trying to go
out and be myself. Coach allows me to be myself. The only time
I err is when I'm not aggressive."
scored 20 points to lead six players in double
figures for Milwaukee (9-18), which has lost two in a row and
seven of 10. Dan Gadzuric
tied a season-high with 14 rebounds
and scored 12 points.
"We have to learn to maintain or focus for 48 minutes," James
said. "Against a team like this, we can't afford to get down so
many points and try to play catch-up."