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Nowitzki, Mavericks top Bulls for third straight win

Nov 15, 2006 - 4:25 AM DALLAS (Ticker) -- After their worst start in franchise history, Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks are starting to look a lot more like last year's edition.

Nowitzki had 31 points and Jerry Stackhouse added 21 as the Mavericks posted a 111-99 victory over the Chicago Bulls for their third straight win.

Erick Dampier collected 14 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks for Dallas, which shot 53 percent (40-of-75).

After starting the season with a dismal 0-4 record, the Mavericks have managed to start an impressive winning streak in their attempt to repeat as Western Conference champions.

"We're working better together," Nowitzki said. "Everyone's starting to get a grasp on the system we're trying to run-defensively and offensively.

"We've got six or seven new guys on this team," Dampier said. "The team chemistry was not there. Guys were trying to figure out one another. I think our chemistry has gotten a lot better now as we've practiced and played together.

Nowitzki shot 10-of-18 from the field and 11-of-11 from the line. Stackhouse was 7-of-14 and nailed all six of his foul shots as Dallas shot a perfect 24-of-24 from the free-throw stripe.

"We've been talking about getting to the line more," Stackhouse said. "We came in at halftime not satisfied with how we were getting to the line. They had us 17-4 on attempts."

The hot-shooting meant more because Dallas picked up an all-important home win.

"Yeah, we started off 0-2 at home and I think if you really want to be a top team, you have to protect your home court early," Nowitzki said. "We just wanted to get a win. We're not where we want to be, we're not even at .500 yet. We'll take it one at a time."

The Mavericks went on an 11-0 run in the fourth quarter, capped by Greg Buckner's jumper to give Dallas its largest lead of the game, 93-76, with 6:08 remaining.

The Bulls responded with a 12-2 spurt to make it 95-88, punctuated by Luol Deng's follow shot with 3:09 left in the game, and Chicago would get no closer.

"I'm (in) my third year now and since I've been here we don't stop playing," Skiles said. "Even if we had been losing by 30, we're going to keep on fighting and just keep on playing the game until the last second."

Kirk Hinrich scored 25 points for the Bulls, who shot 46 percent (39-of-85).

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