OKLAHOMA CITY, Dec. 31 (Ticker) --
On the eve of a new year, Dirk Nowitzki
led the Dallas Mavericks to the same old result against
the New Orleans Hornets.
Nowitzki scored 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and Jason Terry
and Josh Howard
added 20 points each as the Mavericks
defeated the Hornets for the 16th straight time with a 95-90
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"It's just one of those things," Mavericks coach Avery Johnson
said. "We haven't won a championship. Winning 16 straight over
a team ... we will take it but we have some other things in
Nowitzki scored 11 of the Mavericks' first 17 points in the
second half, including a 3-pointer with 6:05 remaining in the
third quarter to give Dallas a 63-57 lead.
"It just seemed that in the first half, I couldn't get anything
going," Nowitzki said. "I had layups miss and everything rolled
out. I just got out early in the second half and got some shots
and was able to knock them down."
Rookie Chris Paul
scored nine points in the third for the
Hornets, who got within 66-63 when Desmond Mason made a layup
with 3:13 left in the period. However, Dallas quickly erased the
momentum with an 10-0 run bridging the third and fourth
"That was huge," Johnson said. "We had a chance to get away
from them at that point and we stayed on the attack and were
fortunate enough to do a good job on their small guards."
Terry scored seven consecutive points and Howard added four to
widen the Mavericks' lead to 88-78 with 4:08 to play. After
made a 15-footer for the Hornets, Terry and Jerry
Stackhouse buried consecutive 3-pointers for a 94-80 edge with
2:46 to go.
"We just wanted to come out aggressive," Terry said. "Dirk got
us going early in that third quarter and Stackhouse came off the
bench with his energy and then I was able to knock down some
shots. Third quarters have been our slow quarters this year, but
The Hornets scored the next 10 points to pull within 94-90 with
17 seconds remaining. David West
hit back-to-back baskets and
Mason threw down a dunk before Howard sealed the win by making
1-of-2 free throws.
"I think we stopped playing a little bit in the fourth quarter,"
Stackhouse said. "We stopped attacking and trying to protect
the lead and that's just not who we are."
Stackhouse came off the bench to score 14 points for Dallas,
which failed to reach the century mark for just the second time
in 11 games.
"It felt good," Stackhouse said. "I was in good rhythm. I never
felt winded or fatigued. (I've) just got to focus on making
sure I do my stuff away from the game."
West scored 18 points with 10 rebounds, Claxton came off the
bench to add 17 and Paul 16 with 10 assists for the Hornets, who
have lost four of five.
"In any given time with the lineup hey had on the court, they
had five guys who could shoot the three and five guys who could
get to the basket," West said. "It's hard to take away one or
two things from guys who are that talented. It's not just
effort. You almost have to play a perfect game."