Mavericks 102, Bucks 76

Dirk Nowitzki went over 23,000 career points without having to

play too much for the surging Dallas Mavericks.

The defending NBA champions are finally on a roll.

Nowitzki became the 23rd NBA player to score 23,000 points

before he and the rest of the Dallas starters sat on the bench the

entire fourth quarter in a 102-76 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks

on Friday night. The Mavericks have won four in a row.

”Milestones are going to be great when I look back on my career

in 10 or 15 years,” Nowtitzki said. ”But as of right now, I’m

trying to help this team, and franchise, win as many games as I

can. We’ve been playing better. That’s all I’m worried about right

now.”

The Mavericks (7-5) started the season with lopsided losses at

home on consecutive days nearly three weeks ago, then lost their

first road game for an 0-3 start.

They have since won five in a row at home. They matched their

season high in scoring against the Bucks, who had the

lowest-scoring game by a Dallas opponent.

”The first two games were poor to say the least. After that, we

were all embarrassed. We had to bounce back and kind of snap out of

it,” coach Rick Carlisle said. ”We were in a two-game whatever

you call it, hangover, Christmas funk. Reality hit us really

quickly. … It helped us get our mindset in the right direction.

We came out fighting after that.”

Jason Terry scored 17 points off the bench to lead the Mavs

while starter Vince Carter had 16 for his highest-scoring game in

Dallas. Roddy Beaubois had 15.

Nowitzki, a 10-time All-Star, has played all 1,005 of his career

games over 14 seasons for Dallas.

He hit the milestone with 7:17 left in the first half. He played

only 22 minutes and finished with 11 points, putting him at 23,008,

third among active players behind Kobe Bryant and Kevin

Garnett.

Brandon Jennings had 19 points and Shaun Livingston 15 for the

Bucks (4-7), who are undefeated at home but now have an NBA-high

seven road losses.

”We’ve been very energetic at home, but we board the plane and

we’re half-asleep out there,” coach Scott Skiles said.

Milwaukee was without 7-foot center Andrew Bogut, who was out

because of concussion-like symptoms.

Bogut fell backward and hit the back of his head on the floor

while taking a charge during Thursday night’s victory over Detroit.

Skiles said Bogut failed a pregame check for concussion symptoms

and was ruled out in accordance with the league’s concussion

policy.

With the Mavericks playing again at home Saturday night, before

going to the West Coast to start a four-game road trip over six

days, their starters got extended rest late with the game out of

reach.

Carter had 11 of his 16 points while making his first five shots

in the first 6 1/2 minutes of the game.

”I was just trying to give our team a little life at the

start,” Carter said. ”You have to hit first because we’ve seen

teams hit us first and it’s effective.”

Carter, the 13th-year pro that signed with Dallas last month,

had a slam dunk on the opening possession. He had a driving layup,

another slam and a 3-pointer before a reverse layup with 5:36 left

in the first quarter put the Mavs up 18-13.

Dallas pushed ahead 74-47 on a 3-pointer by Nowitzki that capped

a 14-0 run over a 4-minute span early in the third quarter before

Jennings made a jumper.

The Bucks had a spurt of 10 consecutive points to get to 77-61

with 2:18 left in the third quarter. That was the closest they

got.

After Rick Carlisle called a timeout, Terry had a steal. He

missed the breakaway layup, but Roddy Beaubois had a follow slam

that started a 13-2 spurt. By the time Terry ended that run with a

3-pointer early in the fourth quarter, Dallas led 90-63.

”They made a lot of shots, they got a big lead and they never

looked back,” Jennings said. ”We’ve got to get a least one road

win. Geez.”

NOTES: Dallas led 60-45 at halftime, its highest-scoring half

this season. … Jason Kidd (lower back) missed his fourth

consecutive game for Dallas, but is expected to play Saturday

night. … The 16 points by Carter were well short of his career

high of 51. … Bogut just returned Tuesday after missing four

games to fly home to Australia to deal with a personal matter. The

Bucks have now lost all five games he’s missed.