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Nowitzki, Terry lead Mavericks past Blazers

DALLAS (AP) -- Though far from perfect, the Dallas Mavericks were
still good enough down the stretch to beat the short-handed
Portland Trail Blazers.

Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry scored 22 points apiece, and they
hit 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions during a key stretch of
the fourth quarter in Dallas' 95-81 victory Tuesday night.

"It was not a flawless game ... but I thought we were a little
bit more aggressive and our aggression paid off," Mavericks coach
Avery Johnson said after his team won for the 13th time in 16
games.

Josh Howard added 21 points and 10 rebounds as the Mavericks
stretched their winning streak against the Trail Blazers to seven.

Dallas had 15 turnovers and was outscored 42-30 in the paint,
but the Mavericks shot 77 percent (10-for-13) in the fourth quarter
to put away the Blazers.

"There were some botched plays and missed dunks. ... You have
to win like that sometimes," Dallas' Jerry Stackhouse said.

Nowitzki established a franchise record in the fourth quarter
with his 50th consecutive free throw on a technical foul, breaking
the mark of 49 set by Steve Nash from Dec. 2-20, 2002.

"It was on my mind," Nowitzki said. "When I took my free
throw, I concentrated hard. You never play for individual records.
It's an honor to hold this one."

Zach Randolph's 19 points and 11 rebounds led the Trail Blazers,
who have lost 14 of 19. Ruben Patterson also scored 19 points.

The Mavericks held a 75-70 lead with 8:31 left when Terry made a
3-pointer as the shot clock expired. On Dallas' next possession,
Nowitzki's 3-pointer from the right wing expanded the advantage to
81-70 with 8:04 remaining.

"Those were two big 3s," Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. "I
thought that took the wind out of our sails. We couldn't respond
and I saw heads drop as if the game was over."

The Blazers never got closer than nine points the rest of the
way.

Portland guard Sebastian Telfair was inactive for the 10th time
this season, sitting out with a sprained right thumb, and starting
forward Viktor Khryapa left the game in the second quarter after he
dislocated a finger on his right hand. Khryapa was back on the
floor in the third quarter, but he finished with only three points
and two rebounds in almost 19 minutes.

Darius Miles, the Blazers' second-leading scorer at 18.2 points
per game, remains inactive with a right knee injury.

Dallas led by as many as eight in the second quarter and held a
47-44 halftime edge behind Nowitzki's 12 points. The Mavericks made
their last seven shots of the third quarter, including a jumper and
a 3-pointer by Terry on consecutive possessions, and led 68-63
entering the fourth. The Blazers missed their final five shots of
the period.

Game notes
Mavericks G Devin Harris left in the second quarter with a
sprained right thumb. Harris had X-rays and did not return. He is
day-to-day. ... Dallas faces a decision on F Adrian Griffin. If
he's on the roster on Jan. 10, his contract is guaranteed for the
rest of the season. But if the Mavericks try to release him and
then re-sign him before that date, they have to expose him to
waivers and risk having another team claim him. Johnson said a
decision will be made in the next few days. ... Portland converted
three free throws in the game's first 3:15, matching the total from
its previous game against the Los Angeles Clippers. The Blazers
went 3-for-10 from the line in that game, setting a franchise low
for made free throws. ... Howard had his eighth double-double of
the season.