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Nowitzki overshadows Kidd's first game against Nets

Mar 9, 2008 - 7:25 AM DALLAS (Ticker) -- While a visit from the New Jersey Nets didn't spark a monster game from Jason Kidd, it sure seemed to help the Dallas Mavericks rediscover their winning ways.

Dirk Nowitzki became the franchise's all-time leading scorer with 34 points for the Mavericks en route to a 111-91 victory over the Nets on Saturday.

Kidd, who finished with three points, five rebounds and 13 assists in his first game against his old team since the February 19 trade that sent him and two other players from New Jersey to Dallas in exchange for guard Devin Harris and four others, was acquired with the hope that he was the last piece to Dallas' title hopes.

"The emotions weren't as they have been in the past," Kidd said. "It was just the first couple of minutes, seeing the guys in warmups and then understanding it wasn't practice, it was a game we needed to win. We needed to get out and get some easy baskets early to make it tough on them on the offensive end."

The Mavericks, who ended their three-game losing streak, are just 5-5 with Kidd in the lineup.

However, in this game Kidd deferred to Nowitzki, who celebrated his return from a one-game suspension to surpass Rolando Blackman as the Mavericks' all-time leading scorer with 16,644 points. The reigning MVP sat out of Wednesday's loss to the Houston Rockets for a flagrant-2 foul he committed during Monday's loss to the Utah Jazz.

"A couple of games ago, somebody mentioned it (the record) but we've played all of these games since then," Nowitzki said. "I didn't think about it at all until they showed it on the Jumbotron (when he reached 32 points). Then I just tried to get it to get it out of the way."

"What he accomplished is pretty amazing," Kidd said. "I told (Blackman), 'I could have gone to a four-corners (offense),' but eventually he's going to score. I was just happy to get him the ball and see what he does best, score the ball. It's good to have him back."

Dallas, which led, 28-19, after one quarter, pulled away from the Nets in the second period.

After Marcus Williams hit a 3-pointer to trim the Mavericks' lead to 34-27 with 6:37 left before intermission, Nowitzki scored eight points during a 18-7 closing run that left Dallas with a commanding 52-34 lead at the break.

"I think, defensively, we were fairly decent with the exception of getting outworked in the first half on the boards," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "I think (former Net) Malik Allen changed the game for them initially - the guy had seven rebounds in the first half. Then, they finished up the last two minutes strong."

The Nets cut the lead to as few as 12 points midway through the third quarter, but the Mavericks responded again, stretching their lead out to 21 with 12 minutes remaining, only leaving Nowitzki's run at history in doubt.

With 4:50 remaining, Nowitzki - perhaps appropriately - took a pass from Kidd at the right wing and hit an 18-foot jumper to surpass Blackman.

"I didn't want to be talking about after this game and have all that pressure for the first shot," Nowitzki said. "It's a great honor to be the scoring leader for this franchise. There's been a lot of great players along the way. I'm really close with Ro since he coached the German team one year. It hurts a little bit to break a record like that, but it's a great honor."

Jerry Stackhouse scored 20 points and Brandon Bass added a career-high 19 for the Mavericks.

Richard Jefferson scored 22 points while Harris managed just nine for the Nets in his return to Dallas.

"I just urged Devin to be aggressive and be him and do what he does best," Kidd said. "Those guys will follow and those guys will help him. He has some talented guys over there. They're searching as a team, and there's a lot of pressure to challenge for a playoff spot.

"They can come together, and there's a lot of time to do that. I think it was just good to see those guys and I wish those guys the best of luck. They've got a hard road just like we do."

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