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Surging Mavs cool Blazers; Kidd 4th on assist list

Thursday, February 5, 2009 , Posted by Linda at 11:12 AM

DALLAS – Josh Howard led a strong start, Jason Terry powered a crucial stretch in the fourth quarter and Jason Kidd reached a major milestone, sending the surging Dallas Mavericks to a 104-99 victory over the previously surging Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night.

Portland Trail Blazers forward Travis Outlaw (25) attempts a basket over DallasPortland Trail Blazers forward Travis Outlaw (25) attempts a basket over Dallas Mavericks forward

Howard scored 15 points in the game's first 15 minutes to help Dallas go ahead by as many as 16. But Brandon Roy and the Trail Blazers — who'd won five straight and who have the most fourth-quarter comebacks in the NBA this season — got within 86-81 with 7:00 left.

Terry fed Kidd for a 3-pointer, then blocked a shot and turned it into a fast-break layup. Kidd followed with a tough running jumper that put Dallas back up by 10, prompting a time out by Portland. Terry turned toward fans, smiled and raised his arms to draw cheers.

Kidd had reason to celebrate, too — an assist in the first quarter pushed him past Oscar Robertson for No. 4 on the NBA's career list. Kidd finished with 10, giving him 9,985 for his career.

The Mavs won their fourth straight, all since coach Rick Carlisle put Kidd in charge of calling most offensive plays. Dallas has been over 100 points and held foes under 100 in all four games. This was a biggie because Portland is ahead in the conference standings. It also was a second straight stiff test, coming on the heels of a win at Orlando. The Mavericks will be tested again Thursday night in Utah.

Howard finished with 23 points, his most since Dec. 30, and Terry scored 20 points. Nowitzki had 16 points and 11 rebounds. Brandon Bass was 9-of-11 for 19 points. His accuracy helped Dallas continue its trend of great shooting, making 55.1 percent. The Mavs were at 67.4 percent midway through the third quarter.

Roy scored 26, and local native LaMarcus Aldridge added 21. Jerryd Bayless had 14, Travis Outlaw 13 and Rudy Fernandez 12.

The Blazers made the finish interesting. Trailing 100-91 with less than a minute left and Dallas going with deep reserves, Roy hit a pair of 3-pointers to make it 100-97 with 10.4 seconds left.

Nowitzki was fouled away from the ball with 7.7 seconds left, giving the Mavs one shot and the ball. Nowitzki missed — for only the sixth time in his last 17 games — but then Terry made a pair of foul shots with 7 seconds to go.

Fernandez got fouled taking a 3-pointer with 4 seconds left. He made the first, missed the second and then seemed to try missing the third but hit it; his disappointment evidenced by slumped shoulders. Nowitzki finally sealed things with two free throws with 2.6 ticks left.

Notes:@ Dallas has won 17 of the last 19 meetings, with both of Portland's wins coming last season. The Mavs lead the season series 2-0, with one meeting left. ... After getting an NBA season-high 21 steals the previous game, the Trail Blazers had six. ... Next up for Kidd: Passing Magic Johnson, who had 10,141 assists. He could catch him by season's end.

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