Friday, November 5, 2010

Mavericks win 5th in row

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Dallas Mavericks center Tyson Chandler (center) is defended by Miami Heat center Joel Anthony (left) as point guard Eddie House watches during the second half of their NBA game in Dallas, Texas, on Nov 30, 2010. The Mavericks won 106-95.

A 106-95 loss was fourth in five games for James and the Heat

DALLAS - When Dirk Nowitzki drove for a layup during Dallas' game-turning run to start the second half, he split a gap between Dwyane Wade and LeBron James - with all three all-stars in the air at the same time - to get to the basket.

Even with Wade's new help in Miami, the Heat still can't beat the Mavericks in the regular season.

After losing for the fourth time in five games, 106-95 on Saturday night, the Heat (9-8) had a players-only meeting. That comes a month into the season that James and Dallas-born Chris Bosh joined Wade in Miami.

"We felt like we needed it. Sometimes it's a feel. We haven't had a team-only meeting. We're playing like 9-8 and we needed it," Wade said. "This is a new team, a new group of guys. Guys need to understand each other and hear each other talk. We all feel better after the talk we had."

At the same point a year ago, Miami was 10-7.

"It's tough because I know the potential of this team, the vision I had when this team was put together," Wade said.

Caron Butler scored seven of his 23 points in that third quarter spurt for the Mavericks, who haven't lost a regular-season game against Miami in 6 1/2 years.

James and Wade finally appeared in the interview room about 45 minutes after the game. Neither would get into specifics of what was said in the closed locker-room.

"It was a well-needed team meeting where everybody had a chance to get off whatever they had on their chest or in their head about us figuring things out," James said. "Right now we are a 9-8 team and we have to own up to that. Does our record speak of the quality of team we can become? I don't think so. But right now we're 9-8 and we're playing like that."

The Heat were coming off a 99-90 home win on Friday night over Philadelphia, which has the worst record in the Eastern Conference. That snapped a three-game losing streak.

Dallas has won 13 consecutive games over Miami since March 2004, and 16 of 17. That doesn't include the 2006 NBA Finals, when the Heat won in six games after losing the first two.

Dallas played for the fourth time in five nights, having ended significant winning streaks by its past two opponents. After ending Oklahoma City's five-game winning streak on Wednesday, the Mavericks ended San Antonio's 12-game winning streak on Friday night.

"This was a big week for us," Kidd said. "It's a big four wins, especially on back-to-backs. ... We've been telling (Butler) to just catch and shoot and take that first one, and then go into your tricks and the game will be a lot easier. Tonight, we went to him and he delivered."

James had 23 points, making only five of 19 field goals. Bosh and Wade both had 22 points.

Nowitzki had 22 points for Dallas, while Tyson Chandler had 14 points and 17 rebounds.

Howard nets winner

Meanwhile, Dwight Howard had a simple message for Jameer Nelson with the Orlando Magic trailing by a point in the final seconds against the Washington Wizards.

"Just throw it up, and I'll go get it," Howard said.

Howard made good on his promise, putting back Nelson's airball to give the Magic a 100-99 win, the final basket among Howard's season-high 32 points. He also had 11 rebounds.

Nelson sent his shot high to get over the Wizards' shot-blocker JaVale McGee, who had come out to contest the jumper. The ball came down short of the rim but Howard pulled in the rebound and then banked it in to give Orlando the lead with 4.3 seconds left.

"When he threw it up, I knew I didn't have a chance to come back down and try to go back up because they were going to foul right away," Howard said. "So I just tried to shoot it off the glass as quick as possible."

Gilbert Arenas had a chance for a game-winner of his own at the buzzer, but his floater hit the back of the rim and bounced away.

Arenas scored a season-high 31 points, including Washington's last nine over the final four minutes, but on the last shotb Howard was again right in the middle of the play.

(Associated Press)

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