Mavs: Sixth team in 15 years with 9-0 start


BOSTON (AP) -- The Dallas Mavericks stayed unbeaten because Dirk Nowitzki kept connecting and Shawn Bradley kept the Boston Celtics from the basket.

Nowitzki scored a season-high 32 points and the 7-foot-6 Bradley blocked five shots and changed many others as the Mavericks won 97-86 Friday night to improve to 9-0.

Bradley didn't start because of an upset stomach, but played 36 minutes and made all four of his shots .

"Bradley was sensational,'' Dallas coach Don Nelson said. "I told him he needs to get food poisoning again.''

The Celtics (6-3) had their six-game winning streak snapped as
Paul Pierce scored just nine points and Antoine Walker had only four of his 22 in the second half.

"It was hard, but we made it harder on ourselves,'' Pierce said. "The zone really bothered us.''

So did Nowitzki.

"He gets out and runs the floor well,'' Walker said. "He's very aggressive in transition. That's when he looks for his shot.''

The win was the Mavericks' sixth by 10 or more points as they
became only the sixth team in 19 years to start 9-0 or better.

"It's fun,'' Nowitzki said. "We know the streak is going to end sooner or later, but then we'll just try to start another one.''

That's what the Celtics will try to do Saturday night in Milwaukee.

If the Mavericks defeat New Jersey on Saturday and the Lakers on
Tuesday, they would be the first team to go 11-0 since Atlanta and
the Lakers both reached that mark in 1997-98.

Bradley felt weak but didn't have to move much in Dallas' 2-3 zone defense.

"The plan was to play two- to three-minute spurts,'' he said, but "it seemed to go OK.''

The Celtics' last lead was 16-15, but they cut the deficit to
76-70 with 8:35 left on consecutive 3-pointers by Walker and Tony

The Mavericks regained control with a 10-0 run that made it
86-70 with 6:16 remaining. Michael Finley started the surge with a
3-pointer, Nowitzki hit two jumpers and Walt Williams ended it with a 3-pointer.

The closest Boston came after that was nine points.

Delk and Shammond Williams with 19 each. Steve Nash had 14 for the Mavericks.

The Mavericks led 50-39 at halftime with a late rally.

Leading 37-33, they scored the next nine points to make it 46-33
with 3:30 left -- their biggest lead of the first half.

Walker had 18 of the Celtics' 39 first-half points and their
backcourt also struggled. Pierce was 1-for-8 for two points, while
Delk was 2-for-12 for four points.

Pierce started the third quarter with a 3-pointer that cut the
lead to 50-42, but Dallas went up 70-55 on a short jumper by Nash
with 2:50 left in the period. Boston finished it with 3-pointers by
Shammond Williams and Delk and trailed 70-61 going into the fourth

Despite the loss, Boston still is guaranteed at least its best record after 10 games in its last 11 seasons, 6-4.

Game notes
Dallas won its previous three games over Boston, two last
season and one in an exhibition game this season. ... Pierce
started and played in his 226th straight game. ... Walker and Vin
Baker each picked up a technical foul in a nine-second span midway
through the third quarter. Nowitzki made both shots. ... Nowitzki
scored 20 or more points for the seventh time in nine games.