Nowitzki's 28 points pace Mavericks in victory

TORONTO (AP) -- This time, the Toronto Raptors definitely missed
Vince Carter and Antonio Davis.

Dirk Nowitzki had 28 points and 13 rebounds as the unbeaten
Dallas Mavericks beat the shorthanded Toronto Raptors 106-92
Wednesday night.

Michael Finley added 22 points for the Mavericks (4-0). Shawn
Bradley, starting in place of an injured Raef LaFrentz, added 14
points and 13 rebounds.

"I almost consider us slumping right now at 4-0,'' said Steve
Nash, whose team has wins against Memphis, Phoenix and Golden
State. "We're going to play a lot of teams that are going to cause
us a lot more problems than the teams we've faced thus far. The
Raptors had a lot of injuries.''

Voshon Lenard scored 20 points for the Raptors, who were without
Carter (strained left quadriceps tendon) and Davis (strained
ribcage). Starting center Jelani McCoy also didn't play after the
first quarter because of backs spasms.

The Raptors also were without Lamond Murray, Nate Huffman and
Eric Montross.

Toronto beat the Chicago Bulls on Monday night, but the Raptors
weren't able to get past the NBA's highest-scoring team without
their top two players.

"We ran out of gas, but we worked real hard,'' Toronto coach
Lenny Wilkens said. "They just didn't walk all over us.''

The Raptors made a game of it until the fourth quarter, when
Dallas outscored Toronto 26-17.

Bradley believes the Mavericks haven't played their best yet.

"We're a step slow on defensive rotations, and we're not as
fluent on offense. It's a different thing each night, but we have
veterans that are able to fight through it,'' Bradley said.

Morris Peterson's jumper cut Dallas' lead to four early in the
fourth period, but Nowitzki followed with a jumper, Finley made a
3-pointer and Nowitzki made another jumper for an 89-78 lead.

Toronto's Lindsey Hunter followed with a jumper, but Dallas went
on an 11-2 run.

After Finley made a wide-open 3-pointer, Nash capped the run
with two free throws, giving the Mavericks a 100-82 lead with 5:29

"Nowitzki really put it away,'' Hunter said. "He shot the ball
extremely well.''

The Mavericks went 8-for-13 from beyond the arc.

Nowitzki, guarded by Jerome Williams, scored 10 points as Dallas
led 24-16 at the end of the first quarter.

Finley's three-point play gave the Mavericks a 13-point lead
early in the second period, but Lenard's 3-pointer capped an 11-2
run as Toronto cut the lead to four.

Williams' dunk over Bradley cut the lead to three points, and
Hunter's jumper with 23 seconds left in the half reduced it to

Game notes
The Raptors signed free-agent center Greg Foster, who
averaged 1.2 points and 1.3 rebounds for Milwaukee last season. He
was released by Indiana last month. The Raptors were able to sign
Foster after being granted a roster exemption by the NBA under the
special hardship rule, which allows a team to add a player if it's
severely limited by injuries. ... Nash, a Canadian, received a loud
ovation when introduced before the game. ... LaFrentz is out
three-to-six weeks with a right ankle sprain.


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