Nowitzki, Mavs end Hawks' winning streakDec 29, 2007 - 11:10 PM DALLAS (Ticker) -- Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks snapped out of their scoring funk while ending the Atlanta Hawks' winning streak.
Nowitzki scored 22 points and grabbed nine rebounds Saturday afternoon as the Mavericks cruised to a 97-84 victory over the red-hot Hawks.
Dallas had lost its previous two contests, averaging just 85.5 points over that stretch.
But the Mavs came out firing Saturday, making all five of their 3-pointers in the first quarter en route to a 34-21 lead.
"The start was great, and that's what we need to set the tone," said Nowitzki, who shot just under 39 percent from the floor in Dallas' two previous losses. "Everybody was involved. We were moving the ball and making shots. That's obviously a fun way to play."
Conversely, the Hawks looked sluggish throughout the early afternoon contest, shooting just 42 percent (30-of-72) from the floor.
"We dug ourselves a pretty deep hole," Atlanta guard Joe Johnson said. "On the road against a team like Dallas, you can't let them get off to a great start like that. That hurt us because we know we recovered from it."
Atlanta finally showed signs of life midway through the fourth quarter, going on a 12-1 run to claw within 82-76 with 4:53 remaining.
But Jerry Stackhouse drilled a 3-pointer on the following possession, igniting a 15-6 run which gave Dallas a 97-82 lead with one minute remaining.
Josh Howard and Devin Harris each scored 19 points while former Hawk Jason Terry chipped in 14 off the bench for Dallas, which split the season series with Atlanta.
"Our defense was really good early on," Mavs coach Avery Johnson said. "Sometimes it's hard for me to give out compliments like that about our defense because we've been so-so. We got after it - the whole first half basically."
Erick Dampier also was outstanding for the Mavericks, scoring all 12 of his points in the first half and finishing with 10 rebounds.
"(Dampier) was physical," Avery Johnson said. "And they were looking for him. He was catching and finishing. He actually carried over from a drill that we were working on yesterday. I like to see that."
Marvin Williams scored 18 points while Johnson added 17 on just 6-of-18 shooting for the Hawks, who won the season opener against the Mavs in Atlanta.
The listless performance was a far cry from the recent play of the Hawks, who had won their previous five contests and were bidding for their first six-game winning streak since the 1998-99 campaign.
"(Dallas) has won a lot of games the past two or three years, and you can't come in here and spot them 13 points in the first quarter and think you're going to win," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "I mean we played much better in the second, third and fourth quarter. But the hole we dug in the first quarter we just couldn't overcome."
Riding their first five-game winning streak in eight years, the Hawks stumbled early, allowing the Mavs to score the game's first 12 points and trailing by as many as 17 in the opening quarter.
"It was a good start," Howard said. "Everybody came out focused, ready to play. I just wish we could have kept it going for the entire game. There's still things we've got to work on but we'll be alright."
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