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Wizards send Mavericks to rare three-game losing streak

Nov 27, 2007 - 6:09 AM DALLAS (Ticker) -- A return to their home floor could not prevent the Dallas Mavericks from their first three-game losing streak in more than a year.

Caron Butler scored 35 points - making all five of his 3-pointers - and Antawn Jamison added 27 as the Washington Wizards used a strong second half to defeat the Mavericks, 110-98, on Monday.

Antonio Daniels added 16 points and six assists for the Wizards, who now are 4-2 without superstar guard Gilbert Arenas. The high-scoring performer is out at least three months after knee surgery.

"That was one heck of a win for us," Washington coach Eddie Jordan said. "The things that have been good for us since Gil has been out is our camaraderie, our support for each other and we know we have to have it."

The loss was the first in seven games at the American Airlines Center this season for the Mavericks, who had not lost three straight overall since dropping the first four contests to open last season.

It was also a rare loss at home for the Mavericks, who went 36-5 during the regular season on their home floor last campaign and had beaten the Wizards five straight times in Dallas.

"I don't think championship teams can get used to losing two or three in a row," Dallas coach Avery Johnson said. "I don't think that is a good sign. So, hopefully, we can take a look at the film to see where our mistakes are and get back to practice."

Washington held a two-point lead at the half but pulled away with a 10-0 burst midway through the third quarter.

DeShawn Stevenson capped the run with a pair of free throws to give the Wizards a 64-54 lead with 5:47 left in the third, and Washington never led by less than seven points the rest of the way.

"We had a game plan coming in that we wanted to close tight on their shooters and take guys away from their strengths, and that just didn't happen," Johnson said. "Hopefully, guys won't continue to get burned in those situations."

Dirk Nowitzki scored 31 points to lead the Mavericks, who went a perfect 29-of-29 at the foul line to set a franchise record for attempts without a miss, but shot just 3-of-21 from the arc.

"Every loss is tough," Nowitzki said. "I thought we were in both games on the road at the end and we couldn't get over the hump. Tonight, we wanted to stop the bleeding, and we never could really stop them."

Nowitzki had 17 points in the first quarter on 6-of-7 shooting as the Mavericks had a 28-26 lead after the opening period.

The Wizards, who never led by more than five during the first half, scored the final six points of the second quarter to take a 47-45 lead at the break.

Dallas trailed, 99-88, midway through the fourth quarter but Washington scored the next eight points - all from Butler and Jamison - to take its largest lead of the game at 107-88 with 4:01 to play.

"We knew, playing in a place like this, that you have to be somewhat defensively sound and make it tough for these guys," Jamison said. "They got it rolling in the first quarter but we kept our composure. Offensively, we ran what we wanted to run and defensively we made it tough for them."

Josh Howard added 17 points and Jose Juan Barea scored 15 off the bench for Dallas - all in the second half.

"They made some tough shots tonight," Barea said. "They were making everything and we're not playing to good right now - we've got a lot of work to do. We have to get ready for the next game."

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