for this game

Nowitzki, Mavericks start hot, rout Bobcats

Nov 19, 2008 - 3:51 AM By Derek Smith PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Ticker) -- The Dallas Mavericks made it look easy Tuesday night amid the insider trading controversy swirling around team owner Mark Cuban.

Dirk Nowitzki scored 17 of his 32 points in the first half as the Mavericks coasted to a 100-83 victory over the offensively challenged Charlotte Bobcats at Time Warner Cable Arena.

The Mavericks, who never trailed in the game, have won two in a row after dropping five straight to improve to 4-7.

"We expected them to really come out firing after they lost to Orlando," Nowitzki said. "We heard that Larry (Brown) was really harsh on them yesterday and we thought they were going to give us a great effort from the start, but our defense was solid and we were able to rebound and get some good looks and layups."

Cuban, for his part, was charged with insider trading by the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday.

It didn't affect his team thanks to Josh Howard, who started the scoring for Dallas, which led 6-0 just 85 seconds into the game.

"Josh and Dirk have really played well from the beginning of the year," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. "It's just feels like our team is starting to get a feel for some of the new pieces and what we're doing in terms of style. It all starts with defense for us which creates great opportunities."

Charlotte coach Brown's early timeout did nothing to stop the Mavericks. A three from Howard pushed the lead to 15-0 at the 6:13 mark with Dallas making seven of its first 11 shots.

"It was great win," Howard said. "It's our first winning streak. I hope it can continue (Wednesday night at Houston). We know we're going to have to put up a good fight."

The Bobcats struggled from outset, starting the game 0-of-9 from the floor with three turnovers. D.J. Augustin's basket broke Charlotte's scoring drought with 5:20 to play in the first quarter. It was the third-worst start to an NBA game for a team since 2002.

"It's always hairy when you get an early lead," Carlisle said. "But I thought it was important to play well early. Charlotte is a young team and, if they got confidence early, it builds, but we had it going from the beginning and played fairly well."

Dallas continued to build on its lead in the second period and took a 55-35 lead into the break. Charlotte 's starters scored just six points on 2-of-19 shooting in the opening half.

The misery continued for Charlotte as Dallas opened the fourth quarter on a 9-0 run to take its largest lead of the game, 83-58, on a basket from Howard. Bobcats rookie Alexis Ajinca ended the run with a basket.

"It looked basically like the varsity scripting plays against the Rec league team out there," Charlotte forward Gerald Wallace said. "They did whatever they wanted to do. They shot wherever they wanted the shot. They took us out of everything we wanted to do."

Augustin attempted to bring the Bobcats back but never was able to pull them closer than 11 points.

"We're not really pleased with the way we closed the game out," Nowitzki said. "We all know that a 14-, 15-point lead is not comfortable in this league. Guys can get hot any time. We wanted to get the lead back up to 20. So, we're not really happy with the way we closed it out, but it was a big win for sure."

Charlotte finished its six-game homestand with a 2-4 record and was led by Augustin's career-high 21 points while the team's starters continue to struggle.

Raymond Felton was the lone starter to register double figures. It was the second straight game in which a reserve led the team in scoring for the NBA's lowest-scoring team.