|Stephon Marbury played for the first time since Dec. 17 for the Knicks, finishing with 16 points. (Nick Laham/Getty Images)|
The Dallas Mavericks have finally - and emphatically - figured out how to beat the Golden State Warriors, with and without Stephen Jackson in the lineup.
Dirk Nowitzki had 29 points and Josh Howard added 19 points and 13 rebounds, leading the Mavericks past their pesky nemesis, 121-99, last night in Golden State's first trip to Dallas since last season's historic playoff upset.
How badly did the Mavericks want to prove their point? The snarl on Nowitzki's face after nailing Jackson on a drive to the basket, then snagging a rebound in traffic midway through the fourth quarter said it all, as did the joy he flashed seconds later when teammate Jerry Stackhouse drove the baseline, cut between two defenders, spun and rose for a layup during a victory-sealing 19-4 run.
Thanks to its most lopsided win of the season, Dallas is 2-0 against Golden State after going 1-6 over the past two seasons. That embarrassment was nothing compared with what happened in the first round of last year's playoffs, when the eighth-seeded Warriors ousted the top-seeded, 67-win Mavericks.
Nowitzki helped Dallas break the spell with a 120-115 win in Oakland in November, but Jackson was suspended and Golden State was struggling without him. The Warriors had been 18-7 since his return.
Pistons 106, Wizards 93 - In Washington, Richard Hamilton's 20 points made him the 10th-leading scorer in franchise history, and he added nine assists and seven rebounds to help Detroit earn its 10th consecutive victory.
It's the Pistons' longest winning streak since an 11-gamer in January 2006, and the average margin of victory during the run is 16.8 points.
The Wizards (15-15) were paced by Caron Butler's 22 points and Antawn Jamison's 21.
Cavaliers 98, Hawks 94 - LeBron James scored 32 of his 36 points in the second half and Larry Hughes made a crucial jumper down the stretch in host Cleveland's victory.
Joe Johnson scored 24 points and Josh Smith 20 for Atlanta.
Kings 107, Knicks 97 - John Salmons scored a career-high 32 points and visiting Sacramento beat New York to snap a four-game slide.
Eddy Curry scored 24 points for the Knicks, who lost by double digits for an NBA-high 15th time. Stephon Marbury added 16 points in his first game since Dec. 17. He came off the bench to play 30 minutes after missing 10 of the last 13 games following his father's death.
Trail Blazers 90, Timberwolves 79 - After its 13-game winning streak was snapped at Utah, Brandon Roy scored 24 points to help Portland rebound by beating host Minnesota.
Al Jefferson had 29 points and 16 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who fell to 4-27.
Bulls 109, Bobcats 97 - Ben Gordon scored 22 points, Luol Deng added 21 points and 13 rebounds, and visiting Chicago improved to 3-1 under interim coach Jim Boylan by erasing a 12-point, third quarter deficit in its win over Charlotte.
Hornets 95, Clippers 81 - David West had 29 points and 10 rebounds, Chris Paul added 16 points and 13 assists, and visiting New Orleans defeated Los Angeles, which has lost seven of its last eight games.
Grizzlies 90, Pacers 72 - Pau Gasol scored 30 points, and visiting Memphis beat Indiana to snap a five-game losing streak.
Nets 96, Magic 95 - Jason Kidd (10 points, 10 rebounds, and 8 assists) almost had a triple-double and made a key defensive stop as visiting New Jersey overcame a 15-point deficit to defeat Orlando.
Jazz 110, 76ers 107 - Carlos Boozer scored 22 points, Deron Williams had a season-high 20 assists, and newly acquired Kyle Korver made five free throws in the final 27 seconds against his former team to help Utah hold off visiting Philadelphia.
Bucks 103, Heat 98 - Mo Williams had 25 points and nine assists, leading Milwaukee past Miami and helping the Bucks snap a nine-game road skid.