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Dallas Hits a Dozen, Defeats Utah 103-97

The Dallas Mavericks came out against the Utah Jazz on fire, jumping out to a 29-4 lead within the first 5 minutes of the game, but had to scratch and claw their way to hold on to the victory and extend their winning streak to 12 games. Just eight days ago, Dallas snapped a five-game losing streak in Salt Lake City with a 93-81 victory over Utah.  The Mavericks have fared far better at home against the Jazz, having now won the last 13-of-15 match-ups in Dallas.

With the win, Dallas improved to 6-1, all-time, in Seats for Soldiers games.  Mavericks season ticket holders pay a special tribute to United States Military personnel by donating their seats to wounded warriors for the game.  A total of 150 soldiers from Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio and the Texas Army National Guard's 36th Infantry Division were the recipients of court-side seats for the game.

"I love that we were able to get off to that kind of a hot start," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. "Those things never hold up. That’s a team that fights, and they fought back."  The Jazz had Deron Williams leading the charge as he scored a game-high 34 points.  He scored 34 on the night, but he only score 3 points in the final quarter. 

When it comes to picking your star of the game, you have plenty of choices.  Dirk Nowitzki recorded 31 points on an efficient 10-12 shooting night, including three baskets from three-point range in the first quarter.  He also had a season-high 15 rebounds, leading to his 8th double-double on the season and his 350th career double-double.  The Mavericks are undefeated this season when Dirk records a double-double. 

This also marks the 4th time this season Nowitzki has shot over 80% from the floor with a minimum of 10 field goal attempts.  He did so against Charlotte, San Antonio and New Jersey.  "He's on a great run," said Carlisle.  The only thing I'm surprised at is missing free throws, he missed 3 free throws tonight.  A guy with his kind of skill-level and his dedication to the game, guys like him are capable of it," Carlisle continued.  "There are only a few guys in history that are capable of this - (Larry) Bird, Kobe Bryant, (Michael) Jordan.  Dirk has done it a few times this year and there's a few other but there aren't many."

You next choice for star of the game, DeShawn Stevenson went 5-9 from the field leading to a season-high 17 points.  All five of his field goals came from three-point range.  He's emerged as a critical part for the Mavericks starting unit.  If the Mavericks are preaching defensive toughness, having Stevenson as a starter is a good jumping off point.  "The decision to start Stevenson was initiated by the players back after the Denver game at home where we struggled and our bench was struggling," said coach Rick Carlisle.  "Our three veteran guys, Dirk, Jason, and Jet suggested possibly looking at DeShawn because he keeps himself ready, he works hard everyday and the guys have an inherent belief in him.  He got the nod against Boston and from there, it's gone the right direction.  He's really added a lot to our team." 

"I just felt blessed," said DeShawn Stevenson.  "For Dirk, Jason Kidd and Jason Terry to see that in me, they know how hard I work.  I'm just grateful for guys in the locker room like that to go to bat for me."  DeShawn "Threevenson" is shooting over 50% from the three-point line and that leads all shooting guards in the league. 

Jason Terry had a rough night through three quarters, shooting 0-4 from the field, but he came alive in the final quarter scoring 12 points on 4-8 shooting in the final quarter.  In a game where Stevenson was rolling and Terry was struggling, Terry got the nod from the coach in the final quarter.  "I give Coach Carlisle a lot of credit," Terry said. "When he easily could have gone with somebody else, he stayed confident in me." 

"What it came down to tonight was (Terry) staying into the game mentally and defensively," Carlisle explained. And then when opportunities came, he had to be ready to shoot the ball. And I don’t know if we could’ve won the game without him. It was good. He just showed some real wherewithal hanging in there."

Utah is a tough team in terms of defense, but Dallas was able to shoot 50% from the field in both encounters over the past eight days.  The Jazz are now 10-3 when they score more points in the paint than their opposition, two of the losses have come against the Mavericks.  This was the first loss for the Jazz in games decided by six or less, they were previously 5-0.

"I don’t think the team really cares about the win streak," Carlisle concluded. "Our core guys that have been here a long time, they’ve been on streaks a lot longer than this. These guys won 17 in a row one year. That part of it isn’t a novelty to our team. We’re a veteran team and we’re trying to become a great team."  Now, the Mavericks will take Sunday off to recharge their batteries before going for a 13th consecutive win as they welcome in the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday night.