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Nowitzki, Terry lead Mavericks to rout of Wizards

Mar 8, 2009 - 6:45 AM DALLAS (Ticker) -- The Dallas Mavericks were a two-man show on Saturday night. But those two were all they needed to get past the lowly Washington Wizards and buoy their improving playoff chances.

Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry combined for 67 points as the Mavs ran away with a 119-103 victory, moving to 3 1/2 games ahead of the Phoenix Suns for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference.

"We've made the playoffs for so many years so this final push is important and we can still move up too and everything is still in reach," Nowitzki said. "We just have to play well together and we'll be right there."

Dallas had to overcome a sluggish first half, as the clubs went into the locker rooms tied despite the obvious talent and record discrepancy. Midway through the third quarter, Nowitzki hit a technical free throw and a pair of jumpers to put his team on top by five.

Nick Young answered for Washington, sinking a nifty runner in the line to slice the deficit to three. But he and the rest of the Wizards had no answer for Terry's exploits over the next three minutes. The leading Sixth Man of the Year candidate buried a 3-pointer on the other end to spark a personal 9-0 run that gave the Mavericks a 79-67 lead.

"My job is to come into the game and shoot and keep shooting," Terry said. "I can make plays when the defense converges on me, but I want to keep shooting regardless of the percentages and I know I'm a good shooter and for this team, without Josh Howard right now, we have to get our attempts up."

He scored from all over the court during the mini-spurt, knocking down a pair of mid-range jumpers after connecting from the arc and adding a driving layup off a feed from Jason Kidd.

"In the second half, he was able to get into a rhythm," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. "Kidd got him the ball, in rhythm on time. He got transition a few times. We need him to play big for us and he's been a huge factor for us all year."

Just to make sure the Wizards didn't get any big ideas about staging a comeback, Terry kicked off the final session with another 3-pointer just 15 seconds into the period, pushing the lead to 84-71. He finished with 33 points on 11-of-20 shooting, including 5-of-10 from the arc.

Nowitzki led all players with 34 points and added nine boards, seven assists, two blocks and two steals.

"I thought we played hard," Washington interim coach Ed Tapscott said. "We made too many mistakes - 22 turnovers and some of them were unforced. We were just playing too fast, and when you're playing too fast you get some passes that go awry and that hurt us. That pace of game is not to our advantage."