Nowitzki, Mavs continue hot streak with win over MagicJan 24, 2007 - 4:56 AM ORLANDO, Florida (Ticker) -- Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks got off to a hot start and just never cooled off.
Nowitzki recorded his 26th double-double of the season and the Mavericks continued to make their rough start to the season a distant memory with a 111-95 victory over the Orlando Magic.
Dallas now boasts an NBA-best 35-8 record and has won eight straight games. The Mavericks started the season 0-4 but have won 21 of their last 22 games to establish themselves as the best team in the league. Dallas showed Orlando its class right from the tip.
"We got off to a really good start. The guys came out focused," Dallas coach Avery Johnson said. "Fortunately the Magic missed a lot of shots early and we were able to get a lead. Dirk (Nowitzki) had a huge night for us, almost a triple-double."
Nowitzki scored 11 of his 33 points in the first quarter as the Mavericks opened a 34-18 lead. Dallas opened the game with a 9-1 run and never looked back. The Mavericks never trailed and hit 14-of-19 shots from the field to open their lead.
"We hadn't really played well the last couple of years here," Nowitzki said. "We knew they were on a tough back-to-back and that's the way we approached it. Josh (Howard) really got us jump-started. He was all over the place. Making shots and making layups."
Howard joined Nowitzki in getting off to a hot start, scoring 10 points in the first quarter. He finished with 25 points while Nowitzki added 10 rebounds and eight assists to just miss out on his first career triple-double.
"I'm trying to play an all-around game," Nowitzki said. "Obviously my shot is still my strength but Avery is looking for me to do more than just score. Help out defensively, rebounding-wise and get some assists. Just try to do whatever the team needs me to do."
Orlando trailed by as many as 25 in the first half and got within 89-80 on a corner jumper by Jameer Nelson with 11:17 to play. Dallas responded with a 7-0 run over the next 2 1/2 minutes and was never threatened again.
"We saw a good team. Obviously we can't spot a team 16 points in the first quarter, especially a good team like that," Magic coach Brian Hill said. "They ran by us, shot over us, went around us to start the game. We tried to play catch-up from that point on. It was too hard to do with a team of that caliber."
Nelson scored 23 points and Dwight Howard had 15 and 14 rebounds for the Magic, who snapped a five-game losing streak with a 90-79 victory at Cleveland on Monday.
"They approached the game the right way. They knew we played last night and forced the tempo of the game right from the beginning and shot the heck out of the ball," Hill said. "I can't use that as an excuse. Did they have an advantage? Sure they did, but it's part of the NBA schedule and there isn't much you can do about it. Sure our guys were tired, but you still have to come out and play. That's just the way this league is."
"We knew they were riding off of a back-to-back, so we wanted to get out there and run," Howard said. "We just stuck to the game plan. That was it."
ORLANDO 95 FINAL
Jan 23 9:34 PM
END 3RD QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
--- --- --- --- -----
DALLAS 34 27 28 89
ORLANDO 18 27 33 78 END 3RD QTR
HIGH SCORERS AFTER 3RD QUARTER
DAL - DIRK NOWITZKI 27, JOSH HOWARD 23, JERRY
ORL - JAMEER NELSON 18, GRANT HILL 15, HEDO
Jan 23 9:02 PM
ORLANDO 45 HALFTIME
Jan 23 8:13 PM
ORLANDO 18 END, 1ST QTR
Jan 23 7:40 PM
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