Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 11/3

Game 1: Wednesday, November 3rd
Game 2: Wednesday, February 2nd
Game 3: Monday, February 28th
Game 4: Monday, March 21st

Hornets 86

(11-45, 3-27 away)

Mavericks 90

(38-17, 19-10 home)

Coverage: COX

7:30 PM ET, February 28, 2005

American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX

1 2 3 4 T
NO 28 15 21 2286
DAL 25 27 16 2290

Top Performers

New Orleans: P. Brown 12 Pts, 14 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Blk

Dallas: D. Nowitzki 28 Pts, 11 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 3 Blk

Crew-cut Nowitzki sinks 13 of 28 points in fourth

DALLAS (AP) -- Dirk Nowitzki rescued the Dallas Mavericks from a potentially embarrassing defeat.

Nowitzki scored 28 points, including a key jumper and two free throws in the final minute, and the Mavericks hung on to beat the New Orleans Hornets 90-86 on Monday night.

Nowitzki, sporting a crew cut in place of his long, floppy hairdo, scored 13 points in the final quarter, despite being hampered by soreness in his right knee. He went 9-of-19 from the field and had 11 rebounds to help the Mavericks extend their winning streak to 12 games against the Hornets.

"It's too bad that on a sore knee Dirk had to get 28 points and 11 rebounds for us to win," said Dallas coach Don Nelson. "That's sad as far as I'm concerned. I don't think a lot of guys played very well tonight."

Leg problems reduced Nowitzki into a perimeter player rather than driving to the basket for easier shots.

"It was a terrible game," Nowitzki said. "They were the ones running early and we never got it going. It was disappointing."

Dallas took a 68-64 lead into the fourth against the team with the worst record in the Western Conference.

The Hornets were as close as 84-82 with 1:47 left on J.R. Smith's fallaway jumper from 18 feet.

New Orleans had a chance to tie the score at 84, but Lee Nailon missed a short jumper with 1:07 to play. On Dallas' next possession, Nowitzki nailed a 22-footer from the right wing with 46.7 left to push the Mavericks' lead to 86-82.

Dan Dickau converted one of two free throws with 40.3 to play, then Michael Finley drained a 20-footer out of the right corner with 21.6 remaining to extend Dallas' edge to 88-83.

Smith made two free throws with 10.1 seconds left to pull New Orleans within three, then Finley missed two free throws with 8.2 seconds to play to open the door for the Hornets.

But Smith was intentionally fouled with 5.1 seconds left and hit one of two from the line.

Nowitzki rebounded the miss, was fouled and made two free throws to wrap up the win.

"We gutted it out down the stretch," Dallas guard Jason Terry said. "But we got stops, then we executed on the other end."

Marquis Daniels added 13 points for the Mavericks, who've won seven of eight.

Nailon scored 14 points and P.J. Brown had 12 points and 14 rebounds to pace the Hornets, who lost their fourth straight.

New Orleans committed 23 turnovers leading to 22 points by Dallas.

"That's the way it's been the last three games. We're not taking care of the ball," said New Orleans coach Byron Scott. "We're making a lot of mistakes that we can't afford, especially against a team like Dallas."

Dallas finished the second quarter with a 13-6 flurry capped by Terry's 3-pointer with 5.1 seconds left to take a 52-43 halftime advantage.

Game notes

New Orleans held a 45-31 rebounding edge. ... Dallas G and sixth man Jerry Stackhouse missed his seventh consecutive game due to a strained groin. The Mavericks are also without starting C Erick Dampier, on the injured list and missing his fifth straight game with a stress fracture in his right foot. ... Dickau opened the season as a seldom-used Mavericks reserve, then was traded to the Hornets in early December, becoming a starting point guard. He had 10 points and five assists but went 4-of-13 from the field. ... Dallas finished with a 9-3 record in February.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 86 90
FGM-FGA 33-70 (.471) 30-67 (.448)
3PM-3PA 6-17 (.353) 4-15 (.267)
FTM-FTA 14-23 (.609) 26-34 (.765)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 11-45 6-31
Assists 15 18
Turnovers 23 16
Steals 8 8
Blocks 6 7
Fast Break Points 9 18
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 31 (1/0) 20 (0/0)
Largest Lead 9 9

Top Performers

New Orleans
P.J. Brown Brown
Points: 12
Reb: 14
Ast: 1
Stl: 0
Blk: 1
Dirk Nowitzki Nowitzki
Points: 28
Reb: 11
Ast: 1
Stl: 1
Blk: 3