Final

Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 4)

Series starts 11/12

Game 1: Saturday, November 12th
Mavericks109Final
Hornets103
Game 2: Saturday, December 3rd
Hornets88Final
Mavericks97
Game 3: Saturday, December 31st
Mavericks95Final
Hornets90
Game 4: Saturday, April 8th
Hornets77Final
Mavericks101

Hornets 88

(8-8, 4-5 away)

Mavericks 97

(11-5, 6-2 home)

    Coverage: COX

    7:30 PM ET, December 3, 2005

    American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX

    1 2 3 4 T
    NO 15 25 27 2188
    DAL 23 26 26 2297

    Top Performers

    NO/Oklahoma City : C. Paul 25 Pts, 6 Reb, 5 Ast, 3 Stl

    Dallas: D. Nowitzki 30 Pts, 8 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl

    Nowitzki helps Mavs pull away from Hornets in fourth

    DALLAS (AP) -- Dirk Nowitzki knew his shooting slump would eventually end.

    And with the Dallas Mavericks looking to avoid a third straight close loss, Nowitzki found his offense when his team needed it most.

    Nowitzki scored 16 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter, and the Dallas Mavericks beat the Hornets for the 15th straight time, 97-88 Saturday night.

    "I've worked too hard to struggle this much," said Nowitzki, 10-of-17 from the field after going 8-for-35 in the previous two games. "I have confidence in my shot. There will always be nights when your shot isn't going to be there. I felt good in warmups. My first couple of shots went in and that helps in building confidence."

    Dallas needed Nowitzki's shot in the fourth quarter. The Mavericks had lost consecutive two-point games with their star forward mired in a drought.

    Nowitzki, who scored a season-low 14 points Thursday night against San Antonio, scored 10 consecutive points to help Dallas pull away after New Orleans crept within three early in the fourth. Nowitzki was 8-of-9 on free throws and had eight rebounds.

    "When he is aggressive and mixing his game up, they don't play him for one particular area of his game," Dallas coach Avery Johnson said. "He showed up his post-up game, his driving ability, his 3-point shot and his in-between game."

    Rookie Chris Paul scored 16 of his 25 points in the second half, and Speedy Claxton had 21 for the Hornets, who last beat the Mavericks on Nov. 17, 1999, when the franchise was located in Charlotte.

    "It's very frustrating," said P.J. Brown, who is in his sixth season with the Hornets. "We can't figure these guys out. We don't know what it will take to get over the hump."

    Jason Terry added 20 points for the Mavericks and Marquis Daniels added 13.

    New Orleans pulled within three at 78-75 early in the fourth quarter on Paul's layup. Nowitzki, who was 5-for-7 in the quarter, answered with a jumper and Erick Dampier followed with a layup to stretch Dallas' lead to seven.

    Nowitzki then hit consecutive 3-pointers and added a pair of jumpers, the last of which put the Mavericks 92-80 with 2:40 left.

    "Tonight I got involved in the offense," Nowitzki said. "I felt good in the first half, my shot was there. I got good looks all night."

    Devin Harris scored 12 points and Keith Van Horn had 10 for the Mavericks.

    Paul scored six points in a 10-2 run that brought New Orleans to 51-50.

    Dallas answered with an 11-2 run of its own to stretch the advantage back to 10 and led 75-67 after three quarters.

    J.R. Smith scored 11 points for the Hornets, who fell behind 12-0 to start the game. New Orleans rallied several times, but could never overtake Dallas.

    New Orleans coach Byron Scott was critical of his team's defense.

    "We were soft," Scott said. "That's why we got down 12-0. We were soft the whole game."

    Game notes


    Dallas forward Adrian Griffin, who was signed as free agent Sunday, made his first start. He had eight points and seven rebounds in 35 minutes. ... New Orleans forward Desmond Mason, who is from nearby Waxahachie, scored five points. ... New Orleans' reserves outscored Dallas' backups 35-23.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    NO
    DAL
    Points 88 97
    FGM-FGA 33-75 (.440) 36-74 (.486)
    3PM-3PA 2-8 (.250) 4-8 (.500)
    FTM-FTA 20-26 (.769) 21-26 (.808)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 8-32 11-43
    Assists 12 18
    Turnovers 14 15
    Steals 5 7
    Blocks 5 9
    Fast Break Points 9 15
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 26 (0/0) 27 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 0 17

    Top Performers

    No/oklahoma City
    Dallas
    Chris Paul Paul
    Points: 25
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 0
    Dirk Nowitzki Nowitzki
    Points: 30
    Reb: 8
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0