Jefferson Leads Surging Nets Past Mavs
New Jersey 100, Dallas 89
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., March 19 (Ticker) -- Richard Jefferson had the kind of support Dirk Nowitzki could have used.
Jefferson scored 28 points to lead a balanced attack as the New Jersey Nets beat the Dallas Mavericks for the first time in 12 tries with an easy 100-89 victory.
"I've never beaten the Dallas Mavericks in my career," Jefferson said. "Maybe the 1 o'clock start helped us. Dirk and the rest of the guys didn't wake up until the second half."
Nowitzki overcame a 1-for-10 start from the field to finish 14-of-28 with 37 points, but the next-highest scorer on the Mavericks was rookie Rawle Marshall with 10 points.
With Nowitzki mustering just two points in the opening quarter, the Nets jumped out to a 29-10 lead after 12 minutes. New Jersey took a 53-32 advantage into the break and led by double digits until the final minute.
"We have to address (the bad starts)," Nowitzki said. "Maybe we get up at 6 o'clock and run around the block, but I don't know what we have to do. We had a noon game two weeks ago in Toronto where we were down 24 in the first half."
Dallas (52-15), which had won six of its previous seven games, fell a half-game behind San Antonio for first place in the Southwest Division and Western Conference.
The Nets ran out to an 18-4 lead in the first 7 1/2 minutes. Jefferson's jumper in the final minute of the quarter extended the advantage to 29-8 and gave him 10 points for the period.
"He's starting to get a lot of confidence on the offensive end, but he's also doing it on the defensive end," Kidd said of Jefferson, who helped the Nets limit Dallas to 4-of-22 shooting in the first quarter.
The second quarter was more of the same as the Nets never let the Mavs closer than 17 points and extended the lead to 25 when Jefferson hit a 3-pointer with 2:52 left.
"I think our guys were really focused from the beginning with defense, holding them to 23 percent in the first half and sharing the ball," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "You have to play at a high level to beat elite teams, and I think that's what we did."
Dallas had 34 points in the first half, but Nowitzki woke up in the third period, pouring in 19 by himself as the Mavericks pulled within 77-61. His 14-footer with 7:41 to play closed the deficit to 81-70, but New Jersey mounted an 11-0 burst shortly thereafter to put the game out of reach.
The Nets shot 45 percent (37-of-82) from the floor despite Carter's 7-of-22 effort. Jefferson, Kidd and Krstic were a combined 25-of-38.
The Mavericks went 25-of-28 from the foul line but shot just 41 percent (30-of-74) from the floor. Jason Terry and Jerry Stackhouse were a combined 6-of-22.
"We can't get in a hole, practically down 20 points in the first quarter," Dallas coach Avery Johnson said. "It's hard to hold all three of them (Jefferson, Carter and Kidd) in check when Jason Terry doesn't really score for us and look to be aggressive; then we are going to struggle.
"Our guys overall are competing and you did not see them at their best tonight, but a lot of that had to do with New Jersey."