Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 11/11

Game 1: Friday, November 11th
Game 2: Friday, March 3rd

Mavericks 98

(3-2, 2-2 away)

Bobcats 88

(2-4, 1-3 home)

    Coverage: FSSW

    7:30 PM ET, November 11, 2005

    Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte, NC

    1 2 3 4 T
    DAL 27 20 34 1798
    CHA 22 17 23 2688

    Top Performers

    Dallas: D. Nowitzki 23 Pts, 16 Reb, 4 Ast, 2 Stl

    Charlotte: K. Rush 13 Pts, 8 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Blk

    Nowitzki overcomes back injury to lift Mavs past 'Cats

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Dirk Nowitzki looked nothing like a guy with a back so sore he wasn't sure he could play a mere 90 minutes before tipoff.

    Nowitzki lit up the Charlotte Bobcats on Friday night, scoring 23 points and 16 rebounds in the Dallas Mavericks' 98-88 victory.

    "The back felt a lot better than I thought it would," he said.

    Nowitzki was a game-time decision for the Mavericks because of a lower back strain that sidelined him for the second half of Wednesday night's loss at Philadelphia. Even during the pregame warmup he said he wasn't positive he would play because it wasn't worth "risking anything" this early in the season.

    Yet he was on the floor at the opening tip and didn't appear to be in any pain during his 40 minutes on the floor.

    "We didn't want him to play 40, but he felt pretty good and he looked OK," Dallas coach Avery Johnson said.

    Although Dallas owner Mark Cuban said after the game that Nowitzki's playing status was never in doubt, Nowitzki said he needed a strong pregame warmup to ensure he could go.

    "It felt great, it started in warmups," he said. "I got loose really good and told Avery I wanted to play and that was that."

    Nowitzki helped Dallas open a 47-39 lead at halftime with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Dallas never trailed, led by 21 early in the fourth quarter and only let the Bobcats make it close in the final minutes.

    Nowitzki wasn't Charlotte's only problem: The Bobcats were partially done in on by their own shooting woes.

    "We were ashamed we came on the court like that," Charlotte forward Melvin Ely said. "We are a better team than we showed."

    Charlotte shot just 35 percent for the game, and lacked much offensive power with leading scorer Gerald Wallace (16.2 points) out with a chipped bone in his right wrist. The bench also was short when Jumaine Jones had to return to Los Angeles when his pregnant wife went into unexpected labor.

    It meant extended playing time for guard Bernard Robinson, who notched five fouls and a pair of turnovers in just over nine minutes of play.

    Since opening the season 2-1 to notch their first winning record in franchise history, the Bobcats have lost three straight.

    "We were lethargic as hell," Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff said.

    Devin Harris scored 21 points off the bench for Dallas, Keith Van Horn added 16 and Josh Howard had 12.

    Ely led Charlotte with 14 points. Kareem Rush had 13 and Emeka Okafor finished with 11. Jake Voskuhl made his Charlotte debut after missing the first five games with a sprained ankle. He scored five points in 15 minutes.

    Game notes

    Dallas now heads to Oklahoma City for a Saturday night game against the Hornets. It will be Johnson's first trip to Oklahoma since he spent one season playing for Cameron University, but he wasn't exactly thrilled to be returning. "I was looking forward to having some gumbo (in New Orleans) on Saturday," he said. ... The Bobcats were asked to name their favorite musical artists in a feature shown on the scoreboard and center Primoz Brezec, a native of Slovenia, drew hearty laughs when he said Michael Jackson.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 98 88
    FGM-FGA 34-75 (.453) 24-67 (.358)
    3PM-3PA 5-13 (.385) 2-9 (.222)
    FTM-FTA 25-30 (.833) 38-52 (.731)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 10-45 10-36
    Assists 19 12
    Turnovers 16 12
    Steals 8 10
    Blocks 3 3
    Fast Break Points 14 13
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 35 (1/0) 28 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 21 0

    Top Performers

    Dirk Nowitzki Nowitzki
    Points: 23
    Reb: 16
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0
    Kareem Rush Rush
    Points: 13
    Reb: 8
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1