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Mavericks win 5th in a row, 102-84 over Nuggets

Dallas Mavericks' Vince Carter (25) celebrates a 3-point basket in front of Denver Nuggets' Arron Afflalo (6) during the first half of an NBA basketball game on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012, in Dallas. Dallas Mavericks' Vince Carter (25) celebrates a 3-point basket in front of Denver Nuggets' Arron Afflalo (6) during the first half of an NBA basketball game on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
By Stephen Hawkins
AP Sports Writer / February 15, 2012
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DALLAS—Shawn Marion had 16 points and 10 rebounds, leading six Dallas players who scored in double figures as the Mavericks stretched their winning streak to five in a row with a 102-84 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night.

Dallas jumped out to a 9-1 lead in the first 3 minutes and was never really challenged.

The five straight wins match a season high for the Mavericks. They have come since a rare three-day break between games that followed three consecutive losses.

Vince Carter had 15 points for Dallas. Lamar Odom scored 14, Jason Kidd 13 and Dirk Nowitzki 12. None of the starters played more than 27 minutes.

Rudy Fernandez led the Nuggets with 14 points. Al Harrington, another reserve, had 13.

Kidd had consecutive 3-pointers, one from the top of the key and the other from the right corner, to cap a 16-3 run that pushed the Mavericks ahead 72-49 with 4:20 left in the third quarter.

Denver, the NBA's highest-scoring team at 104 points per game, trailed 51-39 after its lowest-scoring first half of the season. The Nuggets followed that in the third quarter by scoring only 15 points, their fewest in any period this season.

At the same time, Dallas had its highest-scoring third quarter of the season, piling up 32 points to push ahead 83-54.

Already without guards Jason Terry (strained right quad) and Rodrigue Beaubois (personal reasons), the Mavericks lost guard Delonte West midway through the second quarter with an ugly injury to his right ring finger.

West fractured and dislocated his finger while playing defense, and blood was clearly visible after the play.

The Mavericks said it was unclear how many games West might miss.

While Terry's injury isn't thought to be serious, coach Rick Carlisle has already said he would also miss Friday night's game at Philadelphia because of a "personal situation."

Denver was still without Nene (left calf strain), center Timofey Mozgov (left ankle sprain) and forward Danilo Gallinari (left ankle sprain).

The Nuggets shot a season-low 36 percent (30 of 84).

In a sign of things to come for the Mavericks, four players scored in the opening 9-1 stretch.

Carter had two free throws less than a minute into the game to put Dallas ahead to stay before Kidd converted a steal by Carter into a 3-pointer. Nowitzki and Marion followed with jumpers.

Odom's putback of his own miss made it 11-4.

On the next Dallas possession, Odom became the first Mavericks player to score consecutive points when he hit a 3.

Notes: Nuggets F Corey Brewer received his championship ring from the Mavericks before the game. Brewer, a bench player during Dallas' playoff run last season, was acquired from the Mavericks in a trade on Dec. 13. He had nine points. Caron Butler, now with the Clippers, got his ring Monday night when Los Angeles was in town. ... Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has stepped in to save an annual St. Patrick's Day parade in Dallas, writing a $40,000 check to ensure the parade that has been held since 1979 goes on. "I figured I had lost enough brain cells there, everybody else should get that opportunity, too," Cuban joked before the game.

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