Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 3)

Series starts 12/22

Game 1: Thursday, December 22nd
Game 2: Sunday, March 12th
Game 3: Tuesday, April 4th

Kings 101

(38-37, 14-24 away)

Mavericks 127

(56-19, 32-6 home)

Coverage: KXTV

7:30 PM ET, April 4, 2006

American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX

1 2 3 4 T
SAC 22 19 35 25101
DAL 26 37 38 26127

Top Performers

Sacramento: B. Wells 30 Pts, 7 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Stl

Dallas: D. Nowitzki 29 Pts, 7 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Blk

Mavericks put emphatic end to Kings' run of good defense

DALLAS (AP) -- Josh Powell sure made a big impression in his bid to be Dirk Nowitzki's backup this postseason.

Marc Stein's take
I was first in line begging Sacramento not to gamble on [Ron Artest] -- and I'm going to have to see more than a few good months to shed those misgivings -- but who am I to deny that the first 33 games of the new King's reign have been mostly good ones?

To read more of Tuesday night's Daily Dime, click here.

Powell scored a season-high 12 points and blocked a shot so hard that it flew from the middle of the lane to beyond the midcourt stripe, highlighting a game-breaking stretch in the second quarter that carried the Dallas Mavericks past the Sacramento Kings 127-101 on Tuesday night.

Although the Mavericks scored their most points this season and shot a season-best 61.3 percent against a team that hadn't given up more than 98 points its last 13 games, the buzz afterward was about Powell and his volleyball-esque swat of a shot by Brad Miller.

"I just happened to be in the right place at the right time," Powell said with a huge smile. "He pump-faked and then went up like nobody was there. I was like, 'Let me go get it.' "

Powell said he's never had a block like that -- or even seen one that went that far.

"It kind of made me smile a little bit, but I had to keep it to myself," he said, laughing.

Sacramento's Ron Artest got some payback by fouling Powell hard on a fast break soon after, but that only energized the Mavs and their fans even more. The crowd gave Powell a standing ovation and teammate Jason Terry gave him a leaping chest bump.

Powell made both free throws, then grabbed a rebound on defense and followed with a tip-in. He also nailed a 19-footer before being replaced by Nowitzki, getting another ovation as he went to the bench.

Nowitzki scored 29 points, including 14 during a third-quarter burst that featured three three-point plays and a 3-pointer. Dallas shot 72.2 percent in the period, cracking 100 points in the final minute.

Josh Howard added 23 points, eight rebounds and four assists, the kind of all-around performance the Mavericks sorely missed while he was out with a strained hamstring. He returned for the last loss in a 2-5 skid, then looked back to his usual self during a 24-point win against Denver on Sunday. He was extremely active again in helping turn this game into a rout by halftime.

"He wanted to play a little bit more tonight, but I told him we're looking at the big picture," Dallas coach Avery Johnson said.

The Mavericks are likely locked into the fourth seed after a three-game losing streak last week dimmed their chances of catching the Spurs atop the Southwest Division. Dallas has two days off, then plays in San Antonio on Friday night.

For the Kings, who are trying to hold off New Orleans and Utah for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, this was a horrendous start to a three-game trip against teams ahead of them in the standings. They'll be in San Antonio on Wednesday night, then face the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night.

"It's a defensive wake-up call," said Bonzi Wells, who led Sacramento with 30 points and seven rebounds. "You don't want to start trips like this. And it doesn't get any easier."

Wells typified the Kings' futility by having a dunk attempt clang off the iron and fly out of bounds on the side of the court in the air. Mike Bibby provided another example: He went 0-for-5 on 3-pointers, with two air balls and another that missed the iron and thudded against the backboard, after having made at least four 3-pointers in each of his last three games. He scored 11 points and Artest had 19.

Powell left North Carolina State after his sophomore season in 2003, but failed to land an NBA job and spent the last two years playing in Russia and Italy. This was only his 30th game, yet there could be more coming with Keith Van Horn out indefinitely after having surgery Tuesday to repair a broken right hand.

Powell has seven games left in the regular season to convince Johnson that he's the best option for the few minutes Nowitzki rests in the playoffs. Johnson is considering using Howard, a small forward, at power forward or going with two centers.

"We have a lot of confidence in him, it's just that he's young," Johnson said. "He makes little mistakes here and there, but overall we like his energy. As we move forward, we think he can be a nice, prototypical NBA power forward."

Game notes

Powell got his money's worth on a first quarter offensive foul, knocking down Wells and seeing Kenny Thomas trip over Wells. ... The first half was the fourth time this season the Kings have allowed 63 points in a half. ... Artest was limping for several minutes after injuring his right foot or ankle during the second quarter, but looked fine during the second half.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 101 127
FGM-FGA 38-83 (.458) 49-80 (.613)
3PM-3PA 5-24 (.208) 4-10 (.400)
FTM-FTA 20-22 (.909) 25-28 (.893)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 11-26 15-44
Assists 25 29
Turnovers 9 14
Steals 7 2
Blocks 4 5
Fast Break Points 10 17
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 23 (0/0) 20 (0/0)
Largest Lead 3 30

Top Performers

Bonzi Wells Wells
Points: 30
Reb: 7
Ast: 4
Stl: 1
Blk: 0
Dirk Nowitzki Nowitzki
Points: 29
Reb: 7
Ast: 2
Stl: 0
Blk: 1