Final

Regular Season Series (Game 3 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

Mavericks 95

(22-8, 11-4 away)

Hornets 90

(12-17, 7-6 home)

    Coverage: FSSW

    6:00 PM ET, December 31, 2005

    Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK

    1 2 3 4 T
    DAL 22 22 29 2295
    NO 25 19 19 2790

    Top Performers

    Dallas: D. Nowitzki 24 Pts, 10 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    NO/Oklahoma City : C. Paul 16 Pts, 7 Reb, 10 Ast, 2 Stl

    Mavs win 16th straight over Hornets 

    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Slowing Dirk Nowitzki was not enough for the New Orleans Hornets to end their six-year losing streak to the Dallas Mavericks.

    The Hornets did a decent job on Nowitzki most of the night, but he still scored 24 points and got help from Jason Terry and Josh Howard in the Mavs' 95-90 victory Saturday night.

    Terry and Howard had 20 points each to help the Mavericks beat New Orleans for the 16th straight time dating to November 1999.

    "It's just a tribute to how versatile they are and how many weapons they have," said Hornets forward David West, who had 18 points and 10 rebounds. "Some teams in this league, if you stop one guy you have a chance. With them, you've got to stop more than one guy."

    Nowitzki averaged 30 points and shot 54 percent in the first two games against the Hornets this season. He had just eight points at halftime on 2-of-11 shooting, but scored 14 in the third quarter in helping the Mavericks open a 10-point lead.

    Dallas began the period by making eight of its first 10 shots, then closed it by holding the Hornets scoreless over the final 3:14.

    The Mavs pushed the lead to 13 early in the fourth quarter and, after New Orleans got within eight for the second time, Terry made two baskets including a 3-pointer to give Dallas breathing room again.

    Dallas, which blew a 10-point fourth-quarter lead in a home loss to Golden State on Friday night, saw New Orleans pull within 88-80 with 4 minutes to play before Terry and Stackhouse hit consecutive 3-pointers -- each as the shot clock expired -- to make it 94-80.

    "Tonight we made it a point in the huddle that we weren't going to let that happen again," Terry said, referring to the defensive letdown a night earlier. "We're a pretty good team when we play defense for four quarters."

    The Hornets made things interesting by scoring 10 straight points to get within 94-90 with 17.6 seconds left. Howard then made one free throw for the final margin.

    Speedy Claxton came off the bench to score 17 for New Orleans, and Chris Paul had 16 points and 10 assists.

    The Hornets were coming off their worst loss of the season, 111-84 at San Antonio when they allowed the Spurs to shoot 59 percent. They held the Mavs to a more respectable 46 percent.

    "Like I told the guys, that's a good basketball team," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "We hung in there, we kept fighting, but that is no consolation. We still have to learn how to get over the hump."

    New Orleans wasn't able to take advantage of Nowitzki's slow start. The Hornets never led by more than six in the first half and went to halftime with the score tied at 44.

    Dallas coach Avery Johnson discounted the Mavs' string of success against New Orleans.

    "We haven't won a championship yet," he said. "Winning 16 straight over a team, we'll take it. But we have some other things in mind."

    Game notes


    Nowitzki made all nine of his free throws, giving him 49 in a row. That ties the team record set by Steve Nash in 2002. ... The Hornets, who ranked last in the league in attendance last season, played in front of their third straight sellout and seventh in 12 dates in Oklahoma City.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    DAL
    NO
    Points 95 90
    FGM-FGA 35-76 (.461) 33-72 (.458)
    3PM-3PA 5-16 (.313) 4-8 (.500)
    FTM-FTA 20-26 (.769) 20-29 (.690)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 12-37 13-39
    Assists 15 18
    Turnovers 13 15
    Steals 9 6
    Blocks 4 2
    Fast Break Points 7 18
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 24 (0/0) 23 (1/0)
    Largest Lead 14 6

    Top Performers

    Dallas
    No/oklahoma City
    Dirk Nowitzki Nowitzki
    Points: 24
    Reb: 10
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 1
    Chris Paul Paul
    Points: 16
    Reb: 7
    Ast: 10
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0