Howard, Mavericks Burn the Nets
Dallas 110, New Jersey 77
DALLAS, Jan. 14 (Ticker) -- It's been a long time since Keith Van Horn was a New Jersey Net. It's also been a long time since he shot this well.
Van Horn scored 21 of his 23 points in a perfect first half as the Dallas Mavericks cruised to a 110-77 demolition of the Nets, their 11th straight win in the series.
"We had some very, very good teams (in New Jersey)," Van Horn said. "I started my career there. Obviously, we won the Eastern Conference championship with that team, so I do have some good memories.
Acquired last season from Milwaukee, Van Horn accepted a bench role with Dallas. He came in averaging 9.3 points on 39 percent shooting, both career lows.
"I felt really good out there," Van Horn said. "I've been feeling good the past couple of games so I knew that over the course of the season, things eventually would fall into place. I always believe in the law of averages.
"We have a deep team and every night, guys off the bench, it's not going to be their night. We have too much talent coming off the bench with Stack (Jerry Stackhouse), Devin (Harris) and myself, so I think in that situation some nights it's going to be my night and other nights it's not. I'm just going to take advantage of the situations that present themselves and just let it come to me. That's all they really demand of me."
The Mavericks already held a 19-12 lead when Van Horn came on with 4:13 left in the first quarter. He made a pair of baskets to help extend the lead to 32-19 after one period before lighting up his former team.
In the first 5 1/2 minutes of the second quarter, Van Horn scored 17 points, draining five 3-pointers without a miss before sinking two free throws that pushed the margin to 55-29.
"Van Horn's threes, I can see each and every one of them," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "He gets three against the zone, he gets one in transition, he gets one off the pick-and-roll. Obviously, that turned the tide."
"Sometimes you just get in a situation where you forget about everything that's going on and just let it go," Van Horn said. "That's what I really did. My teammates really were looking for me after I hit that first couple and I was letting it go."
With Howard contributing 18 points, Dallas led, 68-43, at halftime. It shot 54.5 percent (24-of-44), including 7-of-9 from the arc, and converted 13 turnovers by New Jersey into 17 points.
"Turnovers were the key on top of them getting points off of our turnovers," Nets superstar Vince Carter said. "That was the big thing. And they shot the 3-point shot very well and it put us in a big hole early."
Van Horn finally missed a shot in the third quarter. By that time, Howard had taken over, scoring 11 points in the period, as Dallas widened its lead to 93-57 and turned the final 12 minutes into garbage time.
"That's just me being aggressive and taking advantage of the opportunities they give me," Howard said.
Dirk Nowitzki scored 16 points and Jason Terry added 13 for Dallas (27-10), which remained one game behind Western Conference-leading San Antonio in the Southwest Division.
Former Maverick Jason Kidd scored 19 points but committed seven of New Jersey's 25 turnovers. Carter added 17 points but made just 6-of-17 shots.
The Nets again played without injured star forward Richard Jefferson and dropped the final three games of their four-game road trip by a combined 50 points.
"It was a tough game," Carter said. "We've had two tough games in a row and three losses. I think we didn't bring our A game. We didn't even bring our B game, so we've got to go back to the drawing board and get some home cooking."