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Nowitzki leads red-hot Mavericks over struggling Nuggets

Feb 25, 2007 - 6:47 AM DALLAS (Ticker) -- While Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson put up numbers, Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks notch wins.

Nowitzki collected 31 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists and Josh Howard added 27 points as the Mavericks posted their 11th straight win, a 115-95 victory over the struggling Denver Nuggets.

The fourth team in league history to notch three winning streaks of at least 10 games, Dallas has won 46 of its last 51 games after an 0-4 start to the season.

"Obviously, if you had told me after we started 0-4 that we'd go 46-5, I'd say you were nuts," Nowitzki said. "We've done some great things. All the new guys have really fit in well. It's been a great ride but we don't want to get carried away. We still have a big goal and we know what kind of work we put in last year. Just because we win some games, we're not going to get off track."

Anthony and Iverson combined to score 60 points on 22-of-41 shooting Saturday, but it has not helped the Nuggets, who are just 2-7 with the two superstars in the lineup.

"(I wish we could) ask for an exhibition season where we could have eight or nine games to find out who we are and how to play with each other a little bit better," Denver coach George Karl said. "Unfortunately, we have our exhibition games that count. I think we're very good and very inconsistent."

Nowitzki thinks the Nuggets will improve come playoff time.

"They're doing all right. They just have to get a couple of more games under their belt," Nowitzki said. "I think with Carmelo being suspended so long, they really haven't had much time playing together a lot.

"I like their team. There going to be all right ... sooner or later. They're going to pick it up and they're going to be a tough team to beat. In the playoffs, they could be tough. They have a tall team and they can rebound. I like their team."

Denver's supporting cast continues to be silent. Center Marcus Camby was the only other player in double figures, scoring 10 points on 2-of-6 shooting.

However, Iverson still blames the struggles on the two superstars.

"Turnovers, we made mistakes," Iverson said. "I don't know the reason for it. We were being aggressive and we made mistakes tonight. Me, personally, I just made too many for us to win.

"(Carmelo and I) didn't have good games. He turned the ball over seven times, and I turned it over nine. I'll never say that's a good game. If I score 40 or 50 points and turn the ball over that many times, we didn't play well."

The Mavericks, however, were clicking on all cylinders. Nowitzki, who shot 10-of-22 from the floor and 10-of-10 from the free-throw line, barely missed a triple-double but seemed content to pick apart Denver's defense all night.

"I keep getting close (to the triple-double) but I still don't have it yet," Nowitzki said. "We were moving the ball around great and everybody is really making a conscious effort to hit the open guy and make the game a lot easier for ourselves. If we move the ball, penetrate and pitch and get wide-open looks, we're pretty hard to beat."

Howard was equally as impressive, shooting 12-of-22 from the floor on a combination of pull-up jumpers and slashes to the basket for Dallas, which shot 51 percent (45-of-88).

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