Mavericks' 16th Straight Win Clinches Postseason Spot

Wednesday, March 7th 2007, 6:19 am
By: News On 6

With nearly six weeks left on the NBA schedule, the Dallas Mavericks already are in the playoffs.

Their 16th consecutive win and 23rd straight at home, a 102-89 decision over New Jersey on Tuesday night, clinched a postseason berth after just 60 games. Dallas has won 51 of them.

``We don't talk about the streak. We're just trying to get better,'' guard Devin Harris said. ``We want teams to react to what we're doing, and we're always trying to push the ball.''

The Nets pushed Dallas for three quarters, but then the Mavs turned up the defense and New Jersey went more than 6 minutes without scoring, missing nine straight shots.

``My assistant called me today and said, `Let's go for No. 16.' My kids are excited about it. But that's the only time we talk about it,'' coach Avery Johnson said. ``Like (Jerry) Stackhouse says, our fans are more excited about it than we are.''

One fan, an elderly woman who was run over by Jason Terry as he tried to save a ball from going out of bounds, was rewarded with a kiss from the Dallas guard after the play.

``I saw that she was dazed. I wanted to give her a kiss to wake her up,'' said Terry, who scored 24 points. ``A little kiss never hurts anyone.''

Elsewhere Tuesday, it was: Minnesota 117, the Los Angeles Lakers 110 in double overtime; Sacramento 102, Indiana 98; San Antonio 99, Portland 94; Seattle 100, New York 99; Denver 106, New Orleans 91; and Washington 129, Toronto 109.

Dirk Nowitzki had 22 points and 11 rebounds for Dallas, and Erick Dampier had 12 points and 14 boards. The Mavs are 15-1 when Dampier has at least 10 points.

Vince Carter scored 32 points for the Nets, who have dropped three straight.

``If we get that kind of effort every night, we've got a good chance,'' said Jason Kidd, who had 11 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. ``We gave ourselves a chance to win against a very good team.''

Timberwolves 117, Lakers 107, 2 OT

At Minneapolis, Timberwolves center Mark Blount hit three straight 3-pointers in the final 2:20 of regulation and Minnesota overcame 40 points from Kobe Bryant.

Bryant scored 40 for the first time since Jan. 31, his longest 40-point drought of the season, and added 13 rebounds and eight assists. But he managed just three points in the two overtimes as the Lakers let one slip away.

Ricky Davis had 33 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in 56 minutes for Minnesota. Kevin Garnett added 26 points and 17 rebounds.

Kings 102, Pacers 98

The Kings won their first game since star Ron Artest's domestic violence arrest. Artest was arrested Monday after a woman inside his home called 911 and said she had been assaulted. Artest slapped the woman's face and grabbed her repeatedly, causing visible injuries, according to a sheriff's report made public Tuesday.

The Kings indefinitely removed the troubled Artest from the team while they seek more information. It's the latest in a line of incidents involving Artest, who was at the center of the 2004 brawl between Pacers players and Detroit Pistons fans.

Kevin Martin shook off a second-half shooting slump to convert a key three-point play late in the fourth quarter. Sacramento blew nearly all of a 20-point lead before Martin drove the baseline, drew contact from Mike Dunleavy and hit a jumper, just his second basket of the second half.

Martin finished with 27 points. Dunleavy scored 24 points to lead the visiting Pacers, who have lost six straight.

Spurs 99, Trail Blazers 94

Tim Duncan had 24 points and the Spurs hit five 3-pointers in a row to overtake host Portland for their 10th straight victory.

Manu Ginobili had 23 points, eight in the last 2:13, and Michael Finley added 20 for the Spurs.

Rookie Brandon Roy had 19 points, nine assists and five rebounds to lead the Blazers, who lost to San Antonio for the eighth straight time and 15th in the last 16 meetings.

Tony Parker returned briefly for the Spurs after missing two games with a strained left hip. The point guard started and played the first half, but sat after that.

SuperSonics 100, Knicks 99

At New York, Rashard Lewis made the go-ahead 3-pointer, and the SuperSonics beat the Knicks when Stephon Marbury missed a free throw with 0.9 seconds left.

Marbury kept up his torrid scoring with 40 points, but finished New York's miserable night at the line when his second attempt bounced out after he was fouled on a drive to the hoop with the Knicks trailing by two. The Knicks finished 24-of-38 (63 percent) at the line, ruining their comeback attempt.

Ray Allen scored 29 points and Lewis finished with 24. Earl Watson matched a career high with 23 points and added nine assists.

Nuggets 106, Hornets 91

At Denver, Allen Iverson scored 25 points and Carmelo Anthony, a soon-to-be father, added 21 for the Nuggets. Nene finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds.

Anthony was on standby as his fiancee, La La Vazquez, was induced. The couple was expecting their first child.

New Orleans' Tyson Chandler finished with 15 points and 18 rebounds for his 13th straight double-double. It's also his 20th straight game with double-digit rebounds.

Chris Paul had 13 points and 14 assists for the Hornets, who have lost four of their last five.

Marcus Camby grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked six shots despite playing with a sore tailbone. He now has 1,500 blocks for his career.

Wizards 129, Raptors 109

At Washington, Gilbert Arenas scored 25 points in his best shooting game since December. Arenas broke out of a slump by making nine of 13 field goals, including five 3-pointers, but the most telling statistic was Washington's 33-10 advantage in second-chance points. The Wizards had 49 rebounds to the Raptors' season-low 27, easily negating Toronto's 52 percent shooting.

Antawn Jamison also scored 25 points for the Wizards, who have won three straight since Jamison and Caron Butler both returned from injuries.

Chris Bosh scored 25 points for the Raptors, who have lost three straight, but had only one rebound.