Mavs Guarantee Kings a Losing Season

The Dallas Mavericks were just fine in their first game without injured Jason Terry against one of the NBA's worst teams.
Josh Howard and Antoine Wright both had 23 points, Dirk Nowitzki had 21 and J.J. Barea had 10 as the primary fill-in for sixth-man standout Terry in the Mavericks' 118-100 victory over Sacramento on Tuesday night.
The Kings (11-42) became the first NBA team guaranteed to have a losing season -- and they still have 29 games remaining. Sacramento is 2-13 since beating Dallas 102-95 at home on Jan. 11.
Terry, the team's second-leading scorer (19.9 points a game), broke his left hand against Chicago over the weekend and had surgery Monday. Terry is expected to be out three to six weeks.
Kevin Martin had 18 points to lead six players in double figures for Sacramento. John Salmons had 16 and Shelden Williams 15.
With four starters in double figures, Dallas didn't need the kind of bench production it usually depends on from Terry.
Wright was only one point short of his season high, set Nov. 25 against Indiana. His highest total in 26 games since had been 15, and he had that by the end of the third quarter.
After its highest-scoring first quarter of the season, Dallas fell behind when the Kings scored the first nine points of the second for a 40-38 lead. But Dallas responded with a 12-0 run in which Brandon Bass scored all six of his points and the Mavericks never trailed again. Bass also had a steal that led to Nowitzki's go-ahead 19-foot jumper with 7:26 left in the first half.
Wright scored 11 points in the third quarter, including a fastbreak layup on a pass from Kidd that made it 74-63 with 6:52 left and put Dallas ahead by double figures for the rest of the game. When Wright made another jumper on another pass from Kidd, it was 86-67.
Dallas actually got off to a slow start.
The Mavericks missed their first four shots, and already had three turnovers 4 minutes into the game when coach Rick Carlisle called a timeout and met his team near midcourt. Sacramento scored after the timeout to go up 12-8 -- all the Dallas points scored by Howard.
But Nowitzki made two free throws on the next possession and followed Kidd's steal with an 11-footer 31 seconds later before a tiebreaking driving layup by Howard.
Wright's layup on yet another pass from Kidd at 5:43 made it 18-14 and were the first points scored by someone other than Nowitzki or Howard. That was also part of 13 consecutive field goals made after the 0-for-4 start until Matt Carroll missed a 3-pointer.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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