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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.