NEW YORK (AP) -- Dirk Nowitzki scored 30 points for the second straight night and Nick Van Exel made five 3-pointers Friday night to lead the Dallas Mavericks to a 101-90 victory over the New York Knicks.
Improving the NBA's best record to 34-8 and preventing the
Knicks from their first four-game winning streak of the season, the
Mavericks outplayed New York in the fourth quarter after the game
was tied 74-74 after three.
Michael Finley added 20 points and nine assists and Van Exel
scored 17 for the Mavericks, who won despite a poor performance by
Steve Nash. Nash shot 0-for-9 from the field and had his streak of
47 consecutive free throws snapped when he missed a technical foul
shot in the first quarter.
Latrell Sprewell scored 21 and Kurt Thomas added 17 points and
12 rebounds for the Knicks, who were outscored 27-16 in the fourth
Dallas won at Madison Square Garden for the first time since
Nov. 6, 1990 -- a span that included 10 consecutive defeats. The
Mavericks improved to 10-1 on the road against teams from the
Coming off an impressive performance at Philadelphia on
Thursday, Nowitzki got off to a fast start with 14 first-quarter
points. Sprewell scored 13 in the quarter and Howard Eisley had
seven points and six assists as the period ended in a 29-29 tie.
Thomas, who picked up two fouls in the first 2:50 of the game,
stayed out of foul trouble in the second quarter and collected 11
points and five rebounds to help New York to a 53-46 halftime lead.
The momentum shifted Dallas' way midway through the third
quarter when Othella Harrington flagrantly fouled Nowitzki, yanking
him down by the jersey. Nowitzki made both free throws and Adrian
Griffin scored on a putback as Dallas retained possession, giving
the Mavericks a 66-65 lead.
Van Exel hit consecutive 3s early in the fourth, the second of
which gave the Mavericks an 86-80 lead. Finley hit a 12-footer,
Bradley scored on a layup and Nash made two free throws for a 92-80
lead with 6:35 left.
New York came back with a 6-0 run, but 3-pointers by Finley and
Nowitzki got the lead back to 12 with 3:16 left.
New York is 17-24 at the midpoint of the season, one
victory better than they were at this point a year ago. ... The
Knicks had held their previous five opponents below 100 points,
winning four times. ... Nash had a streak of 49 consecutive free
throws earlier this season. ... Thomas was twice called for fouls
while fighting through picks and had to be restrained by his
teammate, Harrington, after it happened the second time. ...
Antoine Rigaudeau played 9 unproductive minutes in the second
quarter, recording no statistics other than a foul and a turnover.
He is 1-for-9 from the field since leaving the Italian League to