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 Nowitzki leads Mavericks past Trail Blazers

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PostSubject: Nowitzki leads Mavericks past Trail Blazers   Fri Dec 26, 2008 5:45 pm

PORTLAND, Ore.(AP) The veteran Dallas Mavericks gave the Portland Trail Blazers a lesson in toughness and discipline.Dirk
Nowitzki scored 24 of his 30 points in the first half, and Jason Terry
had 19 to help surging Dallas beat the Blazers 102-94 on Thursday night.Nowitzki
was 12-of-18 from the field and scored on power moves and jumpers
despite playing the second half in foul trouble. Josh Howard added 15
points for Dallas, 15-4 in its last 19 games after opening 2-7.The
Mavericks kept their poise after a near-meltdown in the third quarter
when they had four technical fouls and Howard was called for a flagrant
foul and later ejected."You know what? We fought,'' coach Rick
Carlisle said. "We fought the whole game. There were some calls we
didn't agree with and we may have lost our poise a little bit, but it
was really about the fight tonight.''Portland's Brandon Roy had
22 points, but went scoreless in the fourth quarter. Steve Blake added
14 points and seven assists, Travis Outlaw and Rudy Fernandez had 13
points each, and LaMarcus Aldridge finished with 12.The Trail Blazers had won 13 straight Christmas games.The Mavericks closed the game with a 12-2 run, while Roy went 0-for-3 in the final 3:33 for Portland.Portland
shot 55 percent and Dallas 58 percent in the first half. Portland led
10-2, but Nowitzki scored 12 of Dallas' next 14 points and the
Mavericks opened up a nine-point lead. Dallas' first-half advantage
crested at 10 at 51-41. Fernandez hit a 3-pointer and Blake had seven
points for Portland, and the Mavs led 59-55 at the break.Nowitzki
picked up his fourth foul early in the third and left the game, picking
up a technical foul for arguing with official Bob Delaney on the way
out. With Nowitzki out, Portland took a 67-66 lead on a 12-foot jumper
by LaMarcus Aldridge."I don't think anybody panicked, even with
all the Ts,'' said Jason Kidd, who had six points, 12 rebounds and 10
assists for Dallas. "We kept plugging away, keeping it close down the
stretch to see if we could get a win on the road.''Howard sent
7-foot-1 Joel Przybilla sprawling to the floor, then was hit with a
technical for jawing with Przybilla and got the second technical
seconds later. Portland took an 80-77 lead into the final period.The
Blazers' hopes were quickly diminished, though. Terry hit a 3 for
Dallas, and Brandon Bass scored twice to put the Mavericks up by seven."They
didn't let up,'' Roy said. "We thought we had them down and they
weren't down. Coach (Nate McMillan) said they outhustled us, and you
can't dispute that.''The Blazers lost a share of the Northwest
Division lead, which they shared with Denver after splitting a home-and
home-series with the Nuggets early in the week.Notes: Portland
rookie guard/forward Rudy Fernandez is competing with fellow rookies
Joe Alexander of Milwaukee and Russell Westbrook of Oklahoma City for a
spot in the Slam Dunk contest on All-Star Weekend. Fans can vote on
NBA.com. ... Dallas is 16-2 in its last 18 games against Portland. ...
The Mavericks have played on Christmas just one other time, a win over
Sacramento in 2003.

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