03/27/2007 Mavericks @ New Orleans
OKLAHOMA CITY, March 27 (AP) -- Josh Howard had 25 points and 10 rebounds, and the Dallas Mavericks beat New Orleans/Oklahoma City 105-89 Tuesday night for their 21st straight victory over the Hornets.
Jason Terry added 19 points and seven assists, Dirk Nowitzki scored 15 points and the Mavericks' top three scorers were able to watch the entire fourth quarter from the bench.
The Hornets haven't beaten Dallas since the turn of the century, the longest losing streak for one team against an opponent in the NBA, NFL, NHL or Major League Baseball. The Mavericks' last loss in the series came on Nov. 17, 1999, in Charlotte.
Tyson Chandler scored 11 of his 13 points in the first half as the Hornets overcame an early 11-point Dallas lead before succumbing to the team with the NBA's best record.
Devin Harris added 14 points for Dallas, which completed a perfect six-game road trip and won its seventh straight overall. The Mavericks already became the first NBA team ever to notch three winning streaks of 12 games or more in a season, and they're past halfway on their way to another one.
Dallas needs only one more win to match the franchise record of 60, set in 2002-03 and matched last season.
Jannero Pargo added 23 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter, and Desmond Mason and David West scored 10 apiece for New Orleans/Oklahoma City. Chris Paul, the Hornets' leading scorer, went 1-for-10 from the field and matched his season low with two points.
The Mavericks hit seven straight shots, including three straight jumpers by Nowitzki, and pulled away with a 21-8 run to build an 80-56 lead late in the third quarter. Howard finished the quarter with a four-point play to give the Mavericks a 25-point edge.
The lead reached as many as 31 twice in the fourth quarter with mostly reserves on the floor for both teams.
Despite two early fouls that landed Nowitzki on the bench, Dallas scored nine straight points to build a 22-11 first-quarter advantage. The Hornets rallied back in the second quarter with a 9-0 run of their own, capped by Rasual Butler's 3-pointer from the left wing that put New Orleans/Oklahoma City up 39-38.
Mavs coach Avery Johnson then called his second timeout in a 39-second span and took Nowitzki out of the game, and Dallas responded by scoring 11 points in a row. Terry had the final five points on a jumper and - after P 1000 aul couldn't get back following a fast-break miss - a 3-pointer from the left corner.
Dallas had its largest lead of the first half after Nowitzki's free throw to close the half made it 56-44.
Nowitzki was a game-time decision after having flulike symptoms on Monday. ... Attendance was 19,164. It was the Hornets' fourth straight home sellout - three in Oklahoma City and one in New Orleans and the 12th total between the two cities this season. ... Paul had been averaging 22.8 points over his last seven games, including back-to-back 28-point performances in his last two outings.