Nowitzki, Mavs Halt Utah's Win Streak

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    Dirk led Mavs with 26 points over Utah.

    The Dallas Mavericks don't mind facing hot teams.

    They already had halted winning streaks by Boston (five games), New Orleans (eight games), Oklahoma City (five games) and San Antonio (12 games).

    Add Utah to that list after Dirk Nowitzki scored 26 points Friday night on 12-of-18 shooting in a 93-81 victory that ended the Jazz's winning streak at seven.

    "We feel we can beat anybody anywhere," said Dallas forward Caron Butler, who added 16 points as Dallas improved to 15-4. "We are playing great basketball. The environment in that locker room is second to none."

    Paul Millsap led Utah with 21 points, and Al Jefferson had 18 points and eight rebounds.

    Friday was an uncharacteristic off-night for Utah's Deron Williams, who shot 62 percent the previous five games. He made just 4 of 13 shots and had four turnovers on Friday -- the same day he was picked as Western Conference player of the month for November.

    The Jazz had a tough night at the free throw line, making 20 of 30, and shot just 38.2 percent overall, compared to 52.6 for the Mavs.

    "Dallas came out and beat us in the second half," Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. "They really pushed the ball up the floor and we had a tough time getting back on defense...If we had made some (layups and free throws), we could have probably stayed in the ballgame."

    The Jazz led 43-39 at halftime, but saw the Mavericks go on a 13-2 run to start the fourth quarter.

    Nowitzki, who averaged 32.3 points and nine rebounds last season against Utah, scored the final five points of the first half for the Mavs and six of their first eight in the second to tie it at 48.

    Then it was Kidd's turn. He hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give Dallas a 62-55 lead with 4 minutes left in the third quarter. He finished with 15 for Dallas on 6-of-8 shooting.

    Despite being outcored by Kidd, his good friend and teammate on the 2008 gold-medal-winning U.S. Olympic team, Williams wasn't overly worried about the loss.

    "We're still one of the best teams," Williams said. "This is one of those nights. Things didn't go our way. The Mavericks played better than us."

    Sloan said Dallas' zone defense gave Utah trouble.

    "When they started zoning us, we lost our position on the floor a few times and looked confused," Sloan said.

    The Jazz held a 43-39 halftime lead thanks in part again to Utah's backups.

    Kyrylo Fesenko had seven rebounds in 7 minutes and scored twice on spin moves in the paint. And Francisco Elson had a pair of jams off nice feeds from Earl Watson and C.J. Miles -- the latter an alley oop that gave Utah a 28-27 lead, brought the crowd to its feet and forced a Dallas timeout with 8:44 left in the half.

    Williams' 3-pointer gave Utah a 39-33 lead with 2:57 left in the half and his free throws pushed Utah's lead to seven, only to have Nowitzki score five straight for Dallas.

    "We were able to get some energy and come out and play aggressively in the third," said Kidd, who made 3 of 5 3-pointers.
    He downplayed his "match-up" with Williams.

    "It's not a match-up; he wins that. I'm just happy to have a uniform and play," said Kidd, who is in his 16th season. "He's a talented point guard and one of the best in the league right now, so we just tried to make it tough on him."

    Butler said the Mavs did a good job of clogging the paint to keep Williams out and force others to be play-makers. "It definitely worked for us tonight," Butler said.

    NOTES: Utah outrebounded Dallas 25-15 in the first half. ... There were six lead changes in the first quarter and eight in the first half overall. ... The loss snapped a string of five straight wins at home by the Jazz. ... The Mavs had no offensive rebounds in the first half.