Mavs disengage Rockets

Posted: Wednesday, January 22, 2003

DALLAS -- Dirk Nowitzki scored 12 of his 26 points during a gamebreaking second quarter and Raef LaFrentz contained Yao Ming, helping the Dallas Mavericks end a three-game losing streak with a 107-86 victory over the listless Houston Rockets on Tuesday night.

Returning home from a dismal West Coast trip, Dallas drilled its first four shots -- all long jumpers -- and led by 12 points early. Although Houston briefly went ahead, Nowitzki helped the Mavericks grab control by moving the offense down low.

Nowitzki rebounded from a scoreless first quarter to score eight of Dallas' first nine in the second, starting with a layup off a great spin move. The Mavericks went on to outscore the Rockets 29-13 in the quarter.

Their lead peaked at 24 in the third. Houston capitalized on sloppy play by Dallas to make a 12-0 run, but never got closer than 12 in losing for the second straight time since an exciting overtime victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Magic 103, Cavaliers 94

CLEVELAND -- Tracy McGrady scored 35 points to spoil Keith Smart's coaching debut with Cleveland, leading Orlando to the victory.

McGrady came in as the league's leading scorer at 30 points per game, and he had matched that with 6:55 left in the third quarter with a pair of free throws.

Kings 109, Nets 102

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Chris Webber had 36 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists and all five Sacramento starters scored in double figures in a win against New Jersey.

Peja Stojakovic scored 12 of his 26 points in the third quarter. He is averaging 26.1 points in his past seven games for the Kings, who improved to 18-2 at home. Mike Bibby added 13 points and 10 assists and Vlade Divac and Doug Christie each scored 11.

Jason Kidd led New Jersey with 27 points, and also had five rebounds, five assists and three steals in another frustrating night for the Atlantic Division leaders against Sacramento.

Though this one wasn't nearly as bad as the previous meeting, when the Nets lost by 36 points at home to the Kings on Jan. 9.



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