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Josh Howard Arrives, Nash's Last Season in Dallas

Won 52, lost 30 (third, Midwest)…the Mavericks were the fifth seed in the Western Conference and lost 4-1 in the first round of the playoffs to the Sacramento Kings…Dallas finished the regular season with a 36-5 record at home, the best in franchise history…the Mavericks won 10 in a row at American Airlines Center to start the season…with a win on 12/15 vs. Toronto, Head Coach Don Nelson surpassed Pat Riley for second-place on the all-time coaching wins list…Dirk Nowitzki earned All-NBA Third Team honors and was selected as an All-Star reserve…Antawn Jamison was named the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year while Marquis Daniels and Josh Howard made the All-Rookie Second Team…on 11/17 vs. Portland, Steve Nash recorded the first triple-double in American Airlines Center history (14 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds)…Dallas led the league in scoring (105.2 ppg), free throw percentage (79.6%), offensive rebounds (14.4 orpg) and fewest turnovers (12.2 tpg)…on 12/12, Dallas ended a 26-game road losing streak to the Los Angeles Lakers…the last Maverick win against the Lakers in Los Angeles was on 12/12/90.


The Mavericks made their fourth straight appearance in the NBA Playoffs and their 10th appearance overall. The franchise's longest streak of consecutive playoff appearances is five (1984-1988). Dallas lost 4-1 in the first round of the playoffs to the Sacramento Kings. The Mavericks were the fifth seed in the Western Conference after finishing the regular season with a 52-30 record.


Although Dallas didn't improve upon the franchise-best mark of 60-22, the 2003-04 Mavericks did become the sixth team in franchise history to win at least 50 games. Now Dallas has won 50 or more games in each of the past four seasons. The Mavericks join the Los Angeles Lakers, Sacramento Kings and San Antonio Spurs as the only four teams to have won at least 50 games in each of the past four seasons (including 2003-04).


Dallas finished the regular season with a franchise-best 36-5 record at home and a 16-25 mark on the road. In fact, the Mavericks averaged 109.5 points on 48.0% shooting at home compared to an average of 100.9 points on 43.9% shooting on the road. Dallas won 10 in a row at home to start the season and nine in a row from 1/31 through 3/8.


On 2/24 vs. the Los Angeles Clippers, the Mavericks recorded their 100th consecutive regular season sellout at American Airlines Center. The streak started on 12/15/02. During that 100-game span, the Mavericks' home record was 81-19. Dallas has sold out an additional 17 playoff and four preseason games during that same stretch. Dallas sold out all 41 regular season home games for the second straight season, bringing the streak to 112.


Dallas was just 16-25 on the road this season after tying for the NBA's best road record (27-14) in 2002-03. The Mavericks failed to record a winning record on the road for the first time since the 1999-2000 season. Twice this season, Dallas lost four straight road games. On the flipside, the Mavericks won five straight road games from 1/12 through 1/27. That tied for the fourth longest road winning streak in franchise history.


Head Coach Don Nelson now has 13 50-win seasons. He is tied with Phil Jackson for the second-most 50-win seasons in NBA History. Pat Riley stands atop the list with 17. The next closest coach is Jerry Sloan with 10. Nelson completed his seventh season as head coach of the Mavericks.


It was a season of accomplishments for Head Coach Don Nelson. On 11/11 vs. New Orleans, he won his 250th game as coach of the Mavericks. With that victory, he became just the second head coach in NBA history to have won at least 250 games with three different teams (Milwaukee Bucks 1976-87, Golden State 1988-95 and Dallas 1997-2003). On 12/15 vs. Toronto, Nelson won his 1,111th game as a head coach, surpassing Pat Riley for second-place on the all-time coaching wins list. The Toronto game also marked Nelson's 3,000th regular season game as a player and coach combined.


Dirk Nowitzki was named to the All-NBA Third Team marking the fourth straight season he has earned All-NBA honors. Nowitzki was part of the Second Team in 2001-02 and 2002-03 and the Third Team in 2000-01. He is one of seven players (Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Jason Kidd, Tracy McGrady and Shaquille O'Neal) to be named to an All-NBA team in each of the past four seasons.


Maverick super-sub Antawn Jamison was named the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year. Jamison joined Roy Tarpley (1987-88) as the only Mavericks to have won the Sixth Man of the Year Award.


Maverick rookies Marquis Daniels and Josh Howard were named to the NBA's All-Rookie Second Team. Howard, who was the last pick in the first round of the 2003 draft, had the most voting points of the rookies who didn't make the first team. Daniels was the only undrafted rookie from the 2003 class to receive All-Rookie honors. It marks the first time a Mavericks' rookie has been selected to an All-Rookie team since Jason Kidd in 1994-95.


Dallas was represented during All-Star Weekend by Josh Howard (Rookie Challenge) and Dirk Nowitzki (All-Star game). The Mavericks were one of five teams to feature a different player in each game. Howard was the fourth leading scorer for the rookie team with 13 points on 6-of-10 shooting. Howard and Miami's Udonis Haslem were the only two players selected to represent this year's rookie class who were not a lottery selection in the 2003 NBA Draft. Dirk Nowitzki was selected as an All-Star reserve for the third straight season and had 2 points (1-3 FGs) and 2 steals in 13 minutes of play. Nowitzki is tied with Mark Aguirre for the second-most All-Star appearances in team history, trailing only Rolando Blackman's four selections.


Head Coach Don Nelson used 21 different starting lineups. The lineup of Antoine Walker, Michael Finley and Dirk Nowitzki upfront with Steve Nash and Marquis Daniels in the backcourt went 8-1. In 2003-04, 13 of the 14 Mavericks who appeared in a game started at least once. Only Antoine Walker started every game.


When either Michael Finley, Steve Nash or Dirk Nowitzki missed a game, Dallas was 8-11 (Antawn Jamison and Antoine Walker played all 82 games and were the only Mavericks to do so). When all five of those players scored at least 10 points in the same game, the Mavericks were 18-1. The only time all five started in the same game was in a win at Sacramento on 12/25. They accounted for 102 of the Mavericks' 111 points that evening.


Michael Finley was solid as always in 2003-04. He finished second on the team in scoring (18.6 ppg) and steals (1.17 spg) and led the team in minutes played (38.6 mpg). Among NBA leaders, Finley ranked 21st in scoring, 22nd in free throw percentage (85.0%), tied for 11th in 3-point percentage (40.5%) and 15th in minutes per game. Dallas was 25-5 when he scored at least 20 points this season. On 2/21 vs. Houston, Finley hit his 706th 3-pointer as a Maverick which surpassed Derek Harper for most in franchise history. He drilled 150 3-pointers this season which shattered his previous career-high of 119 set last season. Finley was named Western Conference Player of the Week for games played 1/12 through 1/18.


Dirk Nowitzki continued to establish himself as one of the NBA's premier players in 2003-04. Nowitzki led Dallas in scoring (21.8 ppg), rebounding (8.7 rpg), steals (1.19 spg) and blocks (1.35 bpg). Among league leaders, Nowitzki ranked ninth in scoring, 16th in rebounding, 39th in field goal percentage (46.2%), tied for eighth in free throw percentage (87.7%), tied for 38th in steals, 26th in blocks and 21st in minutes per game (37.9). He tallied 31 double-doubles and scored 20 or more points in 48 games, 30 or more 12 times and led the Mavericks in scoring a team-best 37 times. On 1/27 at Seattle, Nowitzki scored a career-high 43 points in 41 minutes of play. He also hit a career-high 8 3-pointers in that game which also tied him for the most 3-pointers made in regulation in team history.


Despite having the difficult task of keeping all of the Mavericks' offensive weapons involved, Steve Nash turned in yet another brilliant season. He finished fourth in the team in scoring (14.5 ppg) and averaged a career-high 8.8 assists. Among NBA leaders, Nash ranked third in assists, second in free throw percentage (91.6%), tied for 11th in 3-point percentage (40.5%) and 32nd in field goal percentage (47.0%). Nash led his team in assists in 66 of his 78 games played. Dallas was 21-7 in games in which he recorded a double-double. On 11/17 vs. Portland, Nash recorded his first career triple-double with 14 points, 12 assists and a career-high 10 rebounds. It also marked the first triple-double in American Airlines Center history. Against Sacramento on 4/1, Nash tallied a career-high (and NBA season-high) 19 assists. It was also the second highest assist total in team history and the most in a non-overtime game (Jason Kidd had 25 assists in a double-overtime game vs. Utah on 2/8/96).


After seven seasons in Boston, Antoine Walker joined the Mavericks just days before the start of the regular season. He was second on the team in rebounding (8.3 rpg) and in assists (4.5 apg) and was fifth in scoring (14.0 ppg). Among league leaders, he ranked 20th in rebounding and 28th in assists. Dallas was 15-3 when he scored 20 or more points. Walker posted back-to-back triple-doubles on 1/12 at New York and 1/14 vs. Philadelphia. He became the first Maverick since Jason Kidd to record a triple-double in consecutive games. He finished the season shooting 42.8% from the floor which fell just shy of his career-high mark of 43.0% in 1999-2000.


After starting every game for Golden State the past three seasons, Antawn Jamison came off the bench in all but two games for Dallas in 2003-04. He averaged 29.0 minutes a game, down from a 39.2 average the past three seasons with the Warriors. Jamison led the Maverick reserves with averages of 14.8 points and 6.3 rebounds and shot a career and team-high 53.5% from the floor. He ranked tied for third in the NBA in field goal percentage. Jamison led the Mavericks' reserves in scoring 64 times and scored 20 or more points 24 times. He tallied nine double-doubles (Dallas was 7-2 in those games) and single-handedly equaled or outscored the opponent's entire bench 17 times (Dallas was 15-2 in those games). Jamison also holds the NBA's current longest consecutive games played streak at 328.


Rookie Josh Howard made a solid impact for the Mavericks despite being the last pick in the first round of the 2003 draft. He appeared in 67 games with 30 starts and averaged 8.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.03 steals in 23.7 minutes a game. Among NBA rookies, he ranked seventh in scoring and tied for fifth in rebounding. He recorded four double-doubles this season, including a 17 point, 13 rebound performance at the Los Angeles Lakers on 12/12. Howard scored a career-high tying 19 points three times in the month of March.


NBA General Managers made a major mistake in passing up Marquis Daniels in the 2003 draft. The undrafted rookie appeared in 56 games with 15 starts and averaged 8.5 points (49.4% FGs), 2.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 18.6 minutes a game. Daniels ranked eighth among rookies in scoring and led ALL rookies in field goal percentage. He filled in for Steve Nash as the starting point guard on 3/2 vs. Seattle and nearly notched a triple-double with 14 points and career-highs of 9 rebounds and 9 assists in 45 minutes of play. At Miami on 3/26, Daniels scored a career-high 31 points. He scored in double figures in each of the final 11 games and averaged 20.7 points (53.0% FGs), 6.2 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 2.09 steals in 42.4 minutes per game during that span.


Dallas led the league in scoring with an average of 105.2 points per game and was 43-14 when topping the century mark. In games when the Mavericks were held under 100 points, they were 9-16. Dallas was also 26-2 when scoring 110 or more points. Dallas scored a season-high 127 points three times.


Although the Mavericks didn't bring out the retro-green jerseys from the 80's, their ability to put up big scoring numbers was a definite link to the past. Dallas scored 120 point in three consecutive games (3/30 through 4/3). The last time a Mavericks team scored 120 or more points in at least three straight games was a three-game stretch from 2/3/89 through 2/7/89. Dallas also scored at least 110 points in seven consecutive games from 3/26 through 4/8. The last time a Dallas team had a streak of more than seven straight games scoring at least 110 points was 1/16/87 through 2/1/87 (eight games).


The Mavericks finished the 2003-04 season with a 36-4 record when holding their opponents under 100 points and a 16-26 mark when allowing 100 or more. Dallas ranked 28th in the NBA in opponents' scoring average (100.8 ppg).


Shooting percentage was key for the Mavericks. When they shot 44.0% or better, they were 41-11 as opposed to a 10-19 mark when shooting under 44.0%. Dallas finished third in the league in shooting percentage (45.9%). The Mavericks were 39-3 when shooting the same or better than their opponent and were 12-27 when shooting a lower percentage. The Mavericks were 19-0 when shooting 50.0% or better as opposed to a 7-14 mark when allowing their opponent to connect on at least half of their shots.


The Mavericks shot 34.8% from behind-the-arc, which ranked 11th in the NBA. They made 27 fewer 3-pointers than their opponent in 2003-04 after hitting 159 more than the opposition in 2002-03. When Dallas shot 40.0% or better from 3-point range, it was 24-6. The Mavericks were also 8-0 when hitting 10 or more 3-pointers and 27-10 when connecting on more trifectas than their opponent. Over the final 21 games, Dallas shot 39.9% (124-311 3FGs) from behind-the-arc and shot 40.0% or above 12 times during that stretch.


The Mavericks led the league in free throw percentage once again in 2003-04 (79.6%). Against the Spurs on 11/20, the Mavericks recorded season-highs with 28 FTM and 34 FTA. Dallas was perfect from the line in two games this season (1/28 at Utah and 4/6 vs. Seattle).


Dallas, who ranked 17th in rebounding in 2002-03, outrebounded its opponent by nearly two boards a game (45.3-43.5) in 2003-04. The Mavericks were 37-10 when outrebounding their opponents. Dallas had a rebound margin of 10 or greater in 18 games and was 16-2 in those games. The Mavericks were second in the league in rebounding and 22nd in rebounds allowed.


Dallas finished first in the NBA in offensive rebounding with an average of 14.4 orpg. Last season the Mavericks recorded fewer than 10 offensive rebounds in 35 of their 82 regular season games. In 2003-04, they did so just eight times. The Mavericks also grabbed 20 or more offensive boards 11 times (6-5 mark). In the season prior, they had just one game with more than 20 offensive rebounds.


Dallas averaged 23.9 assists, while their opponents averaged 23.6. The Mavericks were 42-5 when having as many or more assists as their opponent. Dallas had an impressive 40 assists (on 54 baskets) against the Hornets (11/11), which beat the 2002-03 mark of 39 assists. The Mavericks were 28-3 when recording 25 or more assists. Nineteen of the Mavericks' 30 losses came when the opposition had 25 or more assists (15-19 record overall when that occurred). Dallas ranked third in the league in assists per game.


At Houston on 3/7, Dallas recorded a franchise-high 20 steals and forced the Rockets into an opponent franchise-high tying 30 turnovers. Dirk Nowitzki was responsible for nine of those steals which marked a career-high for him; he also fell one steal shy of Michael Finley's team-record 10 steals vs. Philadelphia on 1/23/01. The Mavericks averaged 8.00 steals per game this season, which ranked 15th in the NBA.


The Mavericks were 10th in the league with an average of 5.33 blocks a game in 2003-04. Dirk Nowitzki led the team with 1.35 blocks a game while Shawn Bradley contributed 1.12 bpg. Dallas had a season-high 12 blocks at Utah on 1/5.


Dallas averaged a league-low 12.2 turnovers per game in 2003-04. The Mavericks were 21-5 when committing 10 or fewer turnovers and 8-13 when committing 15 or more. The Mavericks committed 6 turnovers vs. Philadelphia on 1/14. In fact, they had just 3 turnovers at the end of regulation of the eventual double-overtime game. That would have tied the all-time NBA record for fewest turnovers in a game. On 1/20 vs. New Jersey, Dallas committed a franchise-low tying 4 turnovers. The Mavericks had zero turnovers in the first-half which marked the first time in team history Dallas had zero turnovers in either a first or second-half. The Nets and Mavericks also combined for just 11 turnovers in that game, which is an NBA record-low for turnovers committed by two teams in the same game.


Dallas won six straight games by 10 or more points from 3/28 through 4/8. That marked the longest streak of victories by 10 or more points in team history. That six-game winning streak ranks tied for the ninth longest in team history. Dallas won a season-high nine in a row from 1/12 through 1/27. The Mavericks also won six in a row from 2/18 through 3/2. Dallas won by 10 or more points 30 times.


The Mavericks held a lead of 10 or more points 49 times and were 44-5 in those games. They were 11-23 in games when they trailed by 10 or more points. Dallas overcame an 18-point deficit at Sacramento on 12/25, a 16-point deficit vs. Houston (2/21), a 15-point deficit vs. Detroit (2/7), a 14-point deficit vs. Portland on 11/17, 13-point deficits vs. Toronto (12/15) and vs. Minnesota (11/29), a 12-point deficit at New Jersey (3/21), 11-point deficits vs. Minnesota (1/3) and at Portland (1/17) and 10-point deficits at Chicago (1/23) and vs. Phoenix (3/8). The Mavericks blew a 22-point lead at the Los Angeles Clippers on 12/10, a 20-point lead vs. Denver on 1/31, a 12-point lead at Boston on 12/17, an 11-point lead over Indiana on 1/9 and a 10-point lead at Golden State (4/11).


Dallas was 47-7 when they held a lead heading into the fourth quarter. If you combine that with the three seasons prior to that, the record jumps to 189-15 when leading at the start of the fourth. On the flip side, the Mavericks were 5-23 when trailing at the start of the fourth quarter. The only wins the Mavericks had when trailing at the start of the fourth came at San Antonio on 11/8 (Spurs led 67-65), at Sacramento on 12/25 (Kings led 84-78), at Portland on 1/17 (Blazers led 86-85), vs. Seattle on 3/2 (Sonics led 71-69) and at New Jersey on 3/21 (Nets led 74-70).


The Mavericks entered the game at the Lakers on 12/12 without an injured Michael Finley and riding a 26-game road losing streak to Los Angeles. The Lakers were 12-0 at home and had won 27 straight regular season home games dating back to the 2002-03 season. Dallas lost the previous two games vs. the Lakers in 2003-04 by a combined 27 points and never held a lead in either game. All that aside, the Mavericks took a 4-2 lead one minute into the game on 12/12, led by as many as 21 points and beat the Lakers in Los Angles for the first time in exactly 13 years, 110-93. The last Maverick win vs. the Lakers in Los Angeles came on 12/12/90. Dallas tied the 2003-04 season series with Los Angeles; it marked the first time the Mavericks won or tied a season series vs. the Lakers since the 1990-91 season.

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