Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 11/2

Game 1: Tuesday, November 2nd
Game 2: Friday, February 11th
Game 3: Thursday, February 24th
Game 4: Thursday, March 24th

Kings 98

(0-1, 0-1 away)

Mavericks 107

(1-0, 1-0 home)

Coverage: CSNS

7:30 PM ET, November 2, 2004

American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX

1 2 3 4 T
SAC 23 17 26 3298
DAL 30 24 25 28107

Top Performers

Sac: B. Miller 24 Pts, 6 Reb, 1 Ast, 3 Stl, 2 Blk

Dal: D. Nowitzki 33 Pts, 10 Reb, 5 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 Blk

Nowitzki's 33 give Mavs enough cushion vs. Kings

DALLAS (AP) -- In the first quarter, Dallas Mavericks newcomers Erick Dampier and Devin Harris provided two spectacular plays that can already be set aside for the season-ending highlight film.

Dirk Nowitzki, however, remains the key to that story's plot.

With the Mavericks now tailored around him for the first time, Nowitzki responded by scoring 29 of his 33 points over the first three quarters, helping them to a steady lead, then making clutch plays on both ends of the court in the final half-minute to preserve a 107-98 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night.

"The way this team is set up, the ball is going to go through Dirk," teammate Michael Finley said. "We need him to give us that. He's really stepping up and taking that role."

Nowitzki assisted on the game's first basket and scored the second one. Dallas opened with a 7-0 lead and was up at least that many from the end of the first quarter until late in the fourth quarter.

But the Kings were still able to trim a 19-point deficit to 103-98 with just under a minute to play. Then Nowitzki rebounded a miss by Peja Stojakovic, was fouled and hit two free throws with 15.5 seconds left.

Nowitzki ended the Kings' last threat by forcing Bobby Jackson to heave up a wild 3-pointer that clanged off the backboard with about six seconds left. Josh Howard rebounded and made two more free throws to pad the final score.

"I hate to say you're encouraged from a loss, but I liked the way we played together in the second half," said Sacramento's Chris Webber, who had 21 points and 10 rebounds.

The tight finish was no surprise considering these were the NBA's two top-scoring teams last season. Sacramento ended Dallas' season in the first round of the playoffs, a five-game beating that led to major changes -- including Harris, a rookie, running the offense instead of Steve Nash, as well as the addition of Dampier to give the Mavericks a true center for the first time in many years.

Both showed off quickly, with Harris running a nice pick-and-roll with Nowitzki for his first career assist -- a play that hardly registered with the 20,041 fans still buzzing about the block Dampier had made.

Before the quarter ended, Harris gave a glimpse of why he was the No. 5 pick in the draft, perfectly sending a high lob that Dampier slammed down, again drawing fans to their feet.

Nowitzki, meanwhile, made five of his first six shots. He had 10 points in the first and second quarters, and a buzzer-beater gave him nine in the third. He took only one shot in the fourth, finishing 12-of-19. He made both his 3-point attempts and had 10 rebounds and five assists.

Dirk Nowitzki
Nowitzki carried the Mavs through the first three quarters.

"I felt good right from the warmups," said Nowitzki, who shot under the watchful eye of his German mentor. "I tried to be aggressive and make things happen. When I made my first couple, I thought I'd just keep it going."

Harris had eight points and seven assists. He showed his poise by making a nice pass to Michael Finley for a dunk that made it 103-93, but was replaced by veteran Jason Terry with 58 seconds left after making a potentially costly rookie mistake -- although it was his only turnover. He also held Mike Bibby to just eight points, much less than he used to score against Nash.

"Overall, it was a good start," Harris said.

Dampier scored nine points in the first quarter, but just two more. He also had three of his first five rebounds in the first period.

Miller led Sacramento with 24 points, and Stojakovic was just 3-of-15 for 12 points. Maurice Evans started in place of the injured Doug Christie (foot) and scored just two points. Matt Barnes had 17 off the bench and Jackson scored 11.

Game notes

The Mavs began celebrating their 25th season by unveiling a banner with the names of 200 season-ticket holders who've been with the club the entire time. ... Stojakovic made six free throws, giving him 47 in a row counting last season. He's four shy of the club record Bibby set two seasons ago. ... Sacramento's Greg Ostertag went from being out four to six weeks with a broken right hand to being second off the bench and playing 10 minutes.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 98 107
FGM-FGA 36-87 (.414) 40-81 (.494)
3PM-3PA 3-17 (.176) 7-16 (.438)
FTM-FTA 23-30 (.767) 20-23 (.870)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 18-43 13-43
Assists 21 27
Turnovers 17 14
Steals 9 11
Blocks 6 8
Fast Break Points 7 5
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 19 (0/0) 23 (0/0)

Top Performers

Brad Miller Miller
Points: 24
Reb: 6
Ast: 1
Stl: 3
Blk: 2
Dirk Nowitzki Nowitzki
Points: 33
Reb: 10
Ast: 5
Stl: 2
Blk: 2