Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 1/8

Game 1: Wednesday, January 8th
Game 2: Tuesday, February 18th

Mavericks 117

(29-5, 12-3 away)

Hawks 99

(12-22, 10-8 home)

    Coverage: SSN

    7:30 PM ET, January 8, 2003

    Philips Arena, Atlanta, GA

    1 2 3 4 T
    DAL 30 58 29 117
    ATL 18 58 23 99

    Top Performers

    Dal: D. Nowitzki 30 Pts, 14 Reb, 2 Ast

    Atl: J. Terry 27 Pts, 3 Reb, 4 Ast, 2 Stl

    Mavs improve to NBA-best 29-5

    ATLANTA (AP) -- The Dallas Mavericks already had blown one big lead, so they weren't going to let it happen again.

     Dirk Nowitzki

    Dirk Nowitzki and Nick Van Exel combined for 18 points during a decisive 20-4 run as Dallas pulled away for a 117-99 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night, improving the NBA's best record to 29-5.

    Nowitzki finished with 30 points and 14 rebounds and Van Exel added 14 points for the Mavericks, who won their fourth in a row and seventh in eight games. They opened a 15-point lead after one quarter, but Atlanta rallied back to tie it at 58 at the break.

    "We didn't want to give them a chance to get back in the game," Van Exel said. "We had a pretty good rhythm, but we let them back in the game."

    Jason Terry scored 20 of his 27 in the first half for the Hawks, who got poor performances from Glenn Robinson and Shareef Abdur-Rahim to lose their sixth straight. They are 1-6 since coach Terry Stotts replaced Lon Kruger and 2-12 since evening their record at 10-10 on Dec. 7.

    "They are the best team in the league for a reason,'' Stotts said. ``We defended them well in spots. But a team with that many offensive weapons is difficult to sustain."

    The Mavericks led by seven late in the third quarter before the game-changing run. Raef LaFrentz started it with a layup before Nowitzki and Van Exel took over and scored the next 18 points for Dallas.

    "That took away all of our momentum," Stotts said.

    With time winding down in the third, Van Exel hit a 3-pointer from well behind the line to stretch the lead to 12, and then he and Nowitzki quickly scored eight in the final quarter to give the Mavericks a 20-point lead.

    Stotts was screaming for Terry to foul Van Exel before the long 3-pointer, but before he could, Van Exel pulled up and shot it.

    "I heard them say 'foul him,'" he said. "I was already in my rhythm. It was a lucky shot."

    Dallas cruised from there.

    "Those shots right there at the end of the third and at the start of the fourth were very deflating," Stotts said. "They got us on our heels."

    Atlanta rookie Dan Dickau set career highs with eight points, 10 assists and 32 minutes. He was on the injured list for 20 games after knee surgery and was playing for just the second time since returning.

    "It was tough, trying to get minutes as a rookie and then having the disappointment of getting hurt," Dickau said. "But I felt good out there, and all I could do was play hard and try to be myself."

    He couldn't overcome subpar efforts from Glenn Robinson and Shareef Abdur-Rahim.

    Robinson, averaging a team-best 20.7 points, had 16 on 6-for-21 shooting. Abdur-Rahim appeared out of rhythm from the tip, going nearly 9 minutes of the first quarter without getting a shot. He had a season-low seven points, the first time this season he hasn't been in double figures.

    The Mavericks had no such troubles. They shot 51 percent for the game and trailed only once in the second half. LaFrentz had 26 points and 10 rebounds, and Steve Nash scored 19.

    "We took the ball to the basket," Nowitzki said. "We started passing the ball and got some wide-open shots."

    Game notes
    Dallas C Shawn Bradley, penciled into the original starting lineup, didn't play. The team didn't announce any injury, and he took part in pre-game warmups. ... The announced attendance of 10,997 included Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, who drew the loudest cheer of the night when he was shown on the scoreboard before the fourth quarter. ... The Hawks are expected to re-sign G Mike Wilks when he clears waivers Thursday.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 117 99
    FGM-FGA 45-88 (.511) 38-89 (.427)
    3PM-3PA 10-21 (.476) 6-21 (.286)
    FTM-FTA 17-19 (.895) 17-22 (.773)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 8-39 14-45
    Assists 28 24
    Turnovers 8 13
    Steals 7 6
    Blocks 2 2
    Fast Break Points 4 6
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 14 (1/0) 14 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    Dirk Nowitzki Nowitzki
    Points: 30
    Reb: 14
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0
    Jason Terry Terry
    Points: 27
    Reb: 3
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0