Nowitzki leads Mavs over Bobcats for sixth straight win

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- It took an off night to convince Dallas
coach Avery Johnson that the Mavericks have erased the memories of
their 0-4 start.

Dirk Nowitzki had 24 points and 14 rebounds and Jason Terry
scored five straight points in a late run Monday as Dallas held off
the Charlotte Bobcats 93-85.

The Mavericks won their sixth straight game despite shooting 39
percent from the field and missing 13 free throws.

"We can turn a bad night into a good night," Johnson said.
"We had some bad nights early in the season, but we lost. It's
good to have some bad nights -- and win these games. We very well
have some stuff to work on."

After letting leads of 10 points in the third quarter and nine
points in the third slip away, the Mavericks closed the game on a
7-0 run.

Terry hit a 3-pointer with 1:38 left to give the Mavericks an
89-85 lead. On the next possession, Greg Buckner stole the ball
from Gerald Wallace and fed Terry for the decisive layup.

"I'm a fourth quarter player, man," Terry said. "Dirk kept
telling me that's what you do. You always live for your moments in
the fourth quarter of a close game. I answered the call."

Devin Harris added 17 points and Jerry Stackhouse returned after
missing a game with a strained groin to score 15 for the Mavericks,
who have never lost to Charlotte in five meetings.

Emeka Okafor had 22 points, 13 rebounds and set a team record
with eight blocks. Wallace scored 21 points for the Bobcats, who
have lost six of seven.

Wallace's free throw with 5:08 left gave the Bobcats their first
lead since the first quarter, 79-78. But in what has become routine
for the Bobcats, they couldn't hold on.

"We play good for 46 minutes and then the last two minutes we
have mental mistakes along with bad calls and defensive
breakdowns," Wallace said. "It kills us."

The Bobcats' meltdown came despite one of Okafor's best games of
his three-year career. He made 8-of-14 shots and bested his own
team record of seven blocks, set last week against New Orleans. He
also tied the NBA season high of eight, held by Indiana's Jermaine

"I'm just trying to do my part," Okafor said. "Coach told me
they need me to clean the glass and that's what I do."

But he got little help. Adam Morrison was held to seven points
on 3-of-14 shooting and Charlotte was outrebounded 48-37, including
16-7 on the offensive glass.

"The guy is bailing us out, but he has to get help," Bobcats
coach Bernie Bickerstaff said of Okafor.

Harris scored six points in a 9-2 run to start the second half
that gave the Mavericks a 52-43 lead. But Charlotte fought back,
tying the game on Jake Voskuhl's tip-in to start the fourth.

Dallas, despite shooting 29 percent in the first half, held a
42-32 lead before the Bobcats went on a 9-1 run. The highlight of
the spurt was Okafor swatting Austin Croshere's shot in the lane
that landed out of bounds near midcourt.

Okafor's sixth block of the first half -- on Maurice Ager's dunk
attempt just before the buzzer -- kept Dallas' lead at 43-41 at

"Emeka was playing as well as I've ever seen him play, being
really strong down low," Nowitzki said. "We had to tough this one
out and we did."

Brevin Knight started for Charlotte after missing Saturday's
loss to Orlando with a sore left knee, but then left the game in
the second quarter with a strained left calf and was limping
noticeably in the locker room after the game.

Devean George sat out for Dallas with a hyperextended right
knee. He'll be evaluated in Dallas Tuesday.

Game Notes
Bickerstaff reminisced before the game about coaching
Johnson when he was a rookie with Seattle in 1988. "It was like
the basketball was attached to his hand," Bickerstaff said. "The
cerebral part of his game was always there, and he always had life
in perspective." ... Bobcats C Primoz Brezec, in his second game
back after sitting out two weeks due to exhaustion, committed two
fouls in one scoreless minute and didn't return. ... Spurs F Josh
Howard missed his seventh straight game with a sprained left ankle,
but Johnson said he should go through a full practice later this