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Mavericks match franchise record with 14th straight win

Mar 2, 2007 - 6:06 AM DALLAS (Ticker) -- Despite a huge effort from superstar LeBron James, the Dallas Mavericks continued to roll on.

Dirk Nowitzki had 24 points and 11 rebounds as the Mavericks pushed their winning streak to 14 games with a 95-92 triumph over the Cleveland Cavaliers, who wasted a big outburst by James.

The league-leading Mavs (49-9) tied their longest winning streak in franchise history, previously set by the 2002-03 squad that started 14-0.

"We don't get reminded of how many games we win until you guys come in here and remind us," Dallas guard Devin Harris said. "We don't really focus in on it too much. We just try to come in and prepare for each team the same way. We look forward to the challenge."

"For the most part during this stretch, we've been having great ball movement and that's the key to victory, especially on the offensive end," Mavs guard Jason Terry said.

Dallas will look to establish a new mark when it hosts All-Star Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic on Saturday.

On Wednesday, the Mavs became the only team in NBA history to record three winning streaks of at least 12 games. They won 13 in a row from December 13-January 5 and reeled off a 12-game run after starting the season 0-4.

James did his best to try to hand the Mavs their first loss since January 25 as he scored 39 points on 17-of-27 shooting.

"I did a good job at times and I didn't at others," James said. "For the most part, I was mentally focused and mentally prepared to get stops on the defensive end and try to get a good look at the offensive end."

James has been untouchable of late, scoring at least 29 points in each of his last six games.

"After the All-Star break, you know its time to pick up your game," James said. "Your teammates know that and I've definitely been focused since the All-Star break. I'm really trying to be focused on what we are doing and what our task is."

But the Mavs have their own star in Nowitzki, who was named the Western Conference Player of the Month for February earlier Thursday.

In the fourth quarter, Nowitzki scored 10 points during a 13-6 surge, which gave the Mavs an 89-75 cushion with 6:20 remaining.

However, the Cavaliers responded with a 17-6 burst to pull within 95-92 with 41 seconds to play. James scored 11 of his 13 fourth-quarter points in the run.

Cleveland had a chance to send the game into overtime, but James misfired on two straight 3-pointers in the final seconds.

"I thought both of them were going down but I doubt that next time I don't take them," James said. "Things happen and we had opportunity to make shots before them, but I'll take that shot any day."

"I thought one of them for sure was going in," Nowitzki said. "They both were a little long. I mean we dodged a bullet there, obviously."

Cleveland is 0-7 in its last seven trips to Dallas.

Terry scored 20 points and All-Star Josh Howard chipped in 17 and 10 rebounds for Dallas, which has won 21 games in a row at home.

"It wasn't a pretty win, Howard said. "We didn't finish out the fourth quarter like we're supposed to. It was a good overall effort, great team defense."

Dallas improved to 10-2 in games decided by three points or fewer.

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