Kidd, Mavs rally for 13th straight win
DALLASTop scorer Dirk Nowitzki was struggling, and the Dallas Mavericks needed points from other sources.
Jason Kidd, Caron Butler, rookie Roddy Beaubois and Shawn Marion picked up the slack.
Kidd had 20 points and nine assists, hitting 5 of 8 from 3-point range, and the Mavericks recovered from a lethargic start to match the NBA's longest winning streak this season with their 13th straight victory, 96-87 over the New Jersey Nets on Wednesday night.
Jason Kidd #2 of the Dallas Mavericks drives against Terrence Williams #8 of the New Jersey Nets during a game at the American Airlines Center on March 10, 2010 in Dallas, Texas.
Butler and Beaubois each added 16 points and Marion had 14 points and 13 rebounds, helping the Mavericks equal Cleveland's winning streak from Jan. 10-Feb. 11.
Nowitzki, who's had 16 games this season with 30 or more points and two with 40-plus, went 3 for 16 from the field and finished with 12 points.
"Dirk didn't play that well, but he's not always going to have 20 or 30 points," Kidd said. "So everybody stepped up. When I get the ball, I know what to do with it."
New Jersey led by as many as 18 in the first half before the Mavericks got untracked to match the third-best winning streak in franchise history, even while Nowitzki was falling 13.3 points under his season average.
"My jump shot was all over the place," Nowitzki said. "But the guys were great. We really wanted this game."
Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said Nowitzki could be excused for occasionally falling short of his All-Star standards.
"He had an atypical night," Carlisle said. "You're not going to play like an MVP every night. He's earned the right to have an off night."
Former Mavericks guard Devin Harris scored 21 points and Terrence Williams had 18 points and a season-high 13 rebounds for the Nets, who've lost nine of their last 11 and fell to 7-57.
The Mavericks carried a 70-62 advantage in the fourth quarter, but the Nets pushed back with 11 unanswered points, including six from ex-Maverick Kris Humphries, to pull within 81-80 with 7:40 remaining.
Butler scored eight of Dallas' next 11 points, including a 20-footer with 1:45 left to extend Dallas' lead to 92-87.
"They're a good team and they're going to make a run," Harris said. "They came out and put their foot on the gas. But I'm proud of the way the guys responded. We got it to one, but we couldn't get enough stops to overturn it."
The Nets charged to a 17-3 start, getting seven points from Harris and connecting on seven consecutive field goal attempts.
New Jersey shot 67 percent, converting 14 of 21 from the floor in the first quarter, to build a 33-19 advantage.
The Nets went on to a 41-23 second-quarter lead before the Mavericks finished with a 16-6 run over the final 7:36 of the quarter to cut New Jersey's edge to 47-39 at the break.
Dallas opened the third quarter with a 24-9 spurt that included a pair of 3-pointers from Kidd to grab a 63-56 lead.
"Our defensive disposition was stronger," Carlisle said. "We were more physical. We were more alert."
The Mavericks welcomed back centers Brendan Haywood and Erick Dampier from injury absences. Haywood started after sitting out the two previous games with lower back tightness and had 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Dampier, who missed the previous 12 games with a dislocated right middle finger, had one point in five minutes.
NOTES: Mavericks G Jose Juan Barea was out due to an injured left ankle sustained in Monday night's 113-93 victory at Minnesota. Dallas is also without No. 2 scorer Jason Terry, who missed his fourth consecutive game (surgery to repair facial injuries). F Tim Thomas (personal reasons) is also out for the Mavericks. ... Beaubois fouled out with 5:36 remaining. ... New Jersey lost its 10th in a row in Dallas. ...With a second-quarter free throw, Nowitzki passed George Gervin's 20,708 points and took over 30th place on the career scoring list. ...Dallas' best winning streak was 17 games during the 2006-07 season. ... Dallas' 39-point first half matched its worst-scoring output for any half during the winning streak.