Nowitzki, Mavericks Turn Away Hornets
Dallas 109, New Orleans/Oklahoma City 103
OKLAHOMA CITY, Nov. 12 (Ticker) -- Dirk Nowitzki flashed his All-Star form against the New Orleans Hornets.
Nowitzki scored 30 points as the Dallas Mavericks extended their winning streak against the Hornets to 15 games with a 109-103 victory at the Ford Center.
"I had a good rhythm early on and that usually gets my confidence going," said Nowitzki, who made 5-of-9 shots from 3-point range.
After Jason Terry made a driving layup with 31 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to give the Mavericks a 104-96 lead, Nowitzki sealed things 12 seconds later with a pair of free throws.
"I thought we executed well on offense tonight," said Terry, who scored 26 points. "We got Dirk on mismatches with a smaller (Chris Paul), and the key for us tonight was attacking those mismatches."
Terry made 10-of-16 shots and Keith Van Horn added 15 points to lead a strong bench effort for Dallas, which completed a 2-1 road trip. The Mavs received 40 points from their reserves scored 42 points in the paint.
"Over the last seven or eight years we've really been a jump shooting team, but tonight we really mixed it up," Nowitzki said.
"We gutted one out tonight, and the team showed me a lot," Mavericks coach Avery Johnson said. "Paul had a spectacular game, but we held on. We got out hustled tonight, but when we needed to make plays tonight, we did."
The Mavericks' winning streak against the Hornets dates to Dec. 17, 1999, when the Hornets were located in Charlotte. Paul, the fourth pick in June's draft, scored a season-high 26 points and reserve Speedy Claxton contributed 17 for the Hornets.
The Hornets managed to score over 100 points for the first time in five games.
Paul knows what it's going to take for the Hornets to start winning.
"Defense. That's our biggest problem right now, we realize that," said Paul, who made 10-of-13 shots. "We understand that the only way we can start winning games is if we start defending teams."
Dallas shot 51 percent (38-of-74).
David West added 15 points and J.R. Smith netted 14 for the Hornets, who shot 56 percent (39-of-70) and held a 36-29 rebounding advantage.
"We don't give up," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "We played a team that will be in the top three in the conference and we played them tooth and nail all the way to the end."