DALLAS Dallas coach Avery Johnson let his players know they needed to improve defensively after a rugged stretch last week. The Mavericks showed they received the message loud and clear.
Jason Terry scored 25 points and the Mavericks held the New Orleans Hornets to just 36 percent shooting in an 89-80 victory Friday night.
Dallas had given up an average of 112 points in games against San Antonio, Denver and Utah last week. The Mavericks also had lapses in the second half Monday that didn't please Johnson, who has been critical of his team's defense in recent days.
But the Mavericks locked down the Hornets from the start, holding them 17 points below their season average.
"We just took pride in our defense," Johnson said. "I thought we were alert and into the game. They made a little run in the third. But we were able to stay strong throughout the game."
Dallas reserve Jerry Stackhouse scored 12 of his 16 points in the second half.
Josh Howard added 15 points for Dallas, but reigning league MVP Dirk Nowitzki continued to struggle. He had only seven points on 2-of-8 shooting, and is 8-of-23 from the floor over the last two games.
Chris Paul scored 22 points for the Hornets on 9-of 21 shooting. Tyson Chandler had 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Peja Stojakovic chipped in 10 points.
"We knew we were coming into a hornet's nest," New Orleans coach Byron Scott said. "They did a heck of a job defensively. And we did a poor job of executing and matching their intensity."
New Orleans got within 83-78 in the final minute before Dallas put it away by hitting six straight free throws in the final 30 seconds.
"I had fun tonight," Stackhouse said. "There have been too many despondent faces on this team lately. We get paid well to play ball."
NETS 105, CAVALIERS 97: At East Rutherford, N.J., Vince Carter matched a season high with 32 points, Richard Jefferson had 24, and the New Jersey Nets snapped a four-game losing streak. Reserve Josh Boone added a season-high 15, even though he was 2-for-4 from the line when the Cavs intentionally fouled him on consecutive possessions in the fourth quarter. Boone, who threw up an airball from the line earlier, was 3-of-8 there overall.
CELTICS 104, BUCKS 82: At Boston, Paul Pierce scored a season-high 32 points and Kevin Garnett had an easy 15 with seven rebounds on Friday night as the Boston Celtics overcame Ray Allen's absence to match the franchise record with a 12-0 start at home. With Allen sitting out a game or two to rest a sore ankle, Tony Allen started and scored 11 points. Rajon Rondo scored 17 one off his season high with eight assists for Boston, which also won its first 12 home games in 1984 en route to the '85 NBA finals.
MAGIC 103, BOBCATS 87: At Charlotte, N.C., Dwight Howard had 33 points and 18 rebounds to help Orlando snap a three-game losing streak. Hitting the court an hour after a trade that sent starting center Primoz Brezec and forward Walter Herrmann to Detroit for center Nazr Mohammed, the Bobcats were no match for Howard inside.
KINGS 109, 76ERS 99: At Philadelphia, Brad Miller had 25 points and 10 rebounds, Mikki Moore tied his career-high with 24 points and the Sacramento Kings became the final NBA team to win a road game. The Kings entered the game with nine straight road losses to open a season, matching a team record set in 1987-88 and again in 1993-94.
RAPTORS 104, PACERS 93: At Indianapolis, Jason Kapono scored 17 of his career-high 29 points in the fourth quarter to lead Toronto to its fourth straight win.
DETROIT 91, ATLANTA 81: At Auburn Hills, Mich., Chauncey Billups scored 23 points and Tayshaun Prince added 17 points and 10 rebounds. Richard Hamilton added 18 points for Detroit, which has won eight of its last 10.
CLIPPERS 98, GRIZZLIES 91: At Memphis, Tenn., Chris Kaman and Corey Maggette both scored 23 points and Kaman had 16 rebounds. Cuttino Mobley scored 17 points and had six assists for the Clippers, who sent Memphis to its sixth straight loss.
SUPERSONICS 99, TIMBERWOLVES 88: At Minneapolis, Chris Wilcox had 19 points and 11 rebounds to help Seattle overcome a sluggish start. Kurt Thomas added 18 for Seattle, which won its second straight on the road, and fourth game in six starts overall.
KNICKS 101, BULLS 96: At Chicago, Luol Deng scored 29 points, Kirk Hinrich delivered the second triple-double of his career, and Chicago handed New York its fifth straight loss. The Bulls' 16-point, fourth-quarter lead shrank to 3 in the final minute. But Hinrich hit four free throws in the final 23 seconds and Ben Gordon added two more to help seal the win.
WARRIORS 108, LAKERS 106: At Oakland, Baron Davis and Stephen Jackson combined for 42 points as Golden State overtook the Los Angeles Lakers in the Pacific Division standings.