7:30 PM ET, December 2, 2002
American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX
DALLAS (AP) -- Steve Nash made sure the Dallas Mavericks kept one unbeaten streak alive.
Nash scored seven of his 25 points during a crucial fourth-quarter run and the Mavericks extended their home winning streak to nine games Monday night with a 113-102 victory over the Toronto Raptors.
''We believe we're a championship team and it's nice to be winning,'' Nash said. ''We're just trying to compete because everybody wants to beat the best.''
Dirk Nowitzki added 23 points, Nick Van Exel had 17 points in a reserve role and Michael Finley scored 15 for the Mavericks, who had their 14-game season-opening winning streak stopped last week by Indiana but improved their league-best record to 16-1.
''We're pretty good right now,'' Finley said, ''but not to the point where I think we can be. But we're going in the right direction.''
Nash, considered one of the greatest players in Canadian basketball history, shot 7-for-8 from the field and 10-for-10 from the line, and finished with seven assists. Over his last two games, Nash is 16-for-18 from the field.
Raef LaFrentz had 13 points and Shawn Bradley added 11 points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots as Dallas survived a physical game.
''The game didn't look that good because everyone expected that we would win the game, but it was a very tough game for us,'' Mavericks coach Don Nelson said. ''We withstood the challenge and found a way to win.''
Alvin Williams scored 27 points, Morris Peterson added 24 and Antonio Davis 18 for the Raptors, who lost for the seventh time in nine games.
Vince Carter, who scored 17 points, picked up his fifth foul with 2:17 left in the third quarter and didn't return until 8:51 remained in the game.
The Mavericks held a 93-84 advantage when Carter returned, and Dallas pushed its advantage to 95-84 on Van Exel's layup with 8:23 left.
Carter had two baskets during a 10-4 run as the Raptors closed within 99-96. But Nowitzki scored from close range on consecutive possessions, Nash hit a 3-pointer from the left wing with 3:51 left and added two layups to cap an 11-2 spurge that gave Dallas a 110-98 lead with 1:45 to play.
During the decisive stretch, one of Nowitzki's layups and Nash's 3-pointer were the result of bad passes by Alvin Williams and Peterson.
''We got anxious and turned the ball over two times in a row, and that hurt us,'' Raptors coach Lenny Wilkens said. ''We were right in that game and had a golden opportunity.''
Dallas took an 82-78 advantage into the fourth quarter.
The Mavericks opened the game with a 10-0 run, but the Raptors got their offense on track following a timeout and finished the first quarter leading 25-24.
Dallas held a 53-52 halftime lead. Nowitzki and Bradley each scored 10 points in the first half.
Peterson's 18 points and Carter's 11 led the Raptors in the first half.
The Raptors were encouraged that they were able to hang tough on the road against the league's best team with a bench shortened by injuries. Lindsey Hunter, Jerome Williams, Voshon Lenard, Nate Huffman and Mamadou N'diaye are all out with injuries, and Carter has been limited to seven games due to knee problems.
''We can definitely learn from this,'' Alvin Williams said. ''We can learn from the situation. We get a loss out of this and there's no plus to that, but every game you can learn from.''
LaFrentz got his second start of the season. LaFrentz started the opener, then missed 13 games due to a sprained ankle. LaFrentz was activated from the injured list Saturday. ... The Mavericks honored Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith for becoming the NFL's career rushing leader. Smith received a No. 22 jersey from former Mavericks star and current assistant coach Rolando Blackman, who wore the number for the Mavs before it was retired. ... Shawn Bradley's layup attempt in the third quarter rolled around the rim, then came to rest on the basket bracket, forcing a jump ball that was won by Bradley. ... Nowitzki bruised his right elbow in the third quarter when he fell after being fouled. Nowitzki went to the locker room for treatment and an elbow pad, and returned to finish the quarter. ... Mavericks G Raja Bell was assessed a technical and ejected with 26.3 seconds left in the third quarter after jostling for rebound positioning under the Toronto basket. Bell was tossed by referee Steve Javie as the officiating crew tried to keep control of the physical game.
Team Stat Comparison
|FGM-FGA||40-87 (.460)||41-74 (.554)|
|3PM-3PA||6-20 (.300)||6-13 (.462)|
|FTM-FTA||16-18 (.889)||25-30 (.833)|
|Fast Break Points||5||11|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||22 (2/0)||16 (1/0)|