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Mavs finish perfect road trip with win over Sonics

SEATTLE (AP) -- Though Avery Johnson doesn't outwardly express
pride in his players very often, he couldn't resist after they
completed the most successful road trip in franchise history.

Dirk Nowitzki scored 29 points and reserve Jerry Stackhouse
added 21 as the Dallas Mavericks beat the Seattle SuperSonics
104-97 Thursday night to finish a 5-0 trip.

The Mavericks, who won their seventh straight overall, had never
won five games in any of their 34 road trips of five games or more.

"I don't tell them how proud I am enough, probably, but again,
that's probably the kind of coach I played for," Johnson said.
"But I am proud of them tonight with their intensity and their
concentration."

Dallas has not lost since a 117-115 overtime defeat at New York
on Jan. 11.

Nowitzki added 12 rebounds and was 10-for-11 at the free throw
line, making up for an 8-for-22 shooting performance.

Jason Terry added 20 points for the Mavericks, who pulled even
with San Antonio in the Southwest Division at 33-10.

Seven times in franchise history, the Mavs won four games on a
road trip. For some, the trip isn't done yet. Dallas is off Friday
before hosting Utah on Saturday night.

"This would really cap off the trip to come back home and
win," Stackhouse said. "It's almost like a six-game trip."

Rashard Lewis led Seattle with 36 points, but he was given
little help. Ray Allen added 25, but was just 3-for-11 in the
second half and missed six straight shots at one point. Lewis
scored 13 in the fourth quarter, but Allen scored his only points
of the quarter with 47 seconds left.

Allen was 2-for-11 on 3-point attempts.

Seattle trailed 99-95 with 1:30 left when Terry stripped Lewis.
Terry passed to Stackhouse, who was fouled by Lewis and made both
free throws to put Dallas ahead 101-95.

Nowitzki added a jumper with 58 seconds left.

"It was a gutsy performance all trip long," Terry said. "It's
a testament to our will and the confidence in our system."

Down by 11 in the third quarter, Seattle slowly chipped away
with a series of short scoring bursts. The Sonics closed the
quarter and started the fourth on a 12-4 run to get within 80-78.
Dallas went back ahead by eight, 88-80 on Nowitzki's 3-pointer as
the shot clock expired with 7:23 left.

Again, Seattle rallied, this time getting to 90-89 on Mikki
Moore's basket with 4:43 left. Dallas scored the next five, but
Moore scored again to draw Seattle within 95-93. Stackhouse then
scored on a driving layup over Moore and Johan Petro and was
fouled. The three-point play gave Dallas a 98-93 lead with 2:32
left.

"Defense is great, but if you don't put some points on the
board, you're not going to win games," Stackhouse said.

Seattle suited up just nine players and only eight played. Moore
started in place of Vladimir Radmanovic and Ronald Murray started
for Luke Ridnour.

Radmanovic sprained his right foot Wednesday night in Utah and
Ridnour sprained his left knee in the same game. Ridnour had been
averaging 18.5 points over his last seven games.

"Under the circumstances with so many guys out we did a
terrific job of keeping ourselves in the game with a chance to
win," Seattle coach Bob Hill said.

Murray finished with 10 points, but made just 5 of 18 shots and
missed all five 3-point attempts. Damien Wilkins added 11 off the
bench. Moore scored seven points before fouling out and was not
happy with the calls against him trying to defend Nowitzki.

"They be babying him," Moore said. "It's hard to guard
somebody when you can't breath on them."

Dallas' Darrell Armstrong was shaken up early in the fourth
quarter after diving to save a ball from going out of bounds.
Armstrong hit the back of his head on the leg of a chair courtside.
He got up and ran down court rubbing the back of his head, but
after a miss by Nowitzki, ran off the court and to the Mavs bench.
After sitting on the bench and be examined by trainers, he was
helped back to the Dallas locker room.

The team said Armstrong had a neck strain. He did not return.

Game notes
Dallas trailed by 17 in the first quarter, but used an 18-0
run to take the lead at 35-34. ... Dallas G Devin Harris sat out
after spraining his right shoulder after colliding with Golden
State's Mike Dunleavy on Wednesday night. Harris will be
re-evaulated on Friday in Dallas. ... Seattle Seahawks defensive
back Jordan Babineaux and injured safety Ken Hamlin were at
Thursday's game. Both received loud ovations.