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Mavs get over .500 mark with win over Kings

The SportsXchange

DALLAS -- The Dallas Mavericks rode a smothering second-quarter performance to an easy 119-96 victory over the Sacramento Kings Monday night at American Airlines Center.

The Mavericks (11-10) won their third in a row to inch over .500 for the first time since Nov. 21. The Kings (7-13) had their three-game winning streak snapped and lost their 17th consecutive regular-season game in Dallas.

O.J. Mayo led the Mavericks with 19 points, and Chris Kaman added 18. Dallas coach Rick Carlisle used nine players for at least 19 minutes apiece but none more than 29. Derek Fisher, Dahntay Jones, Darren Collison and rookie Jae Crowder also scored in double figures for the Mavs.

DeMarcus Cousins and Francisco Garcia scored 25 each for the Kings, with Garcia knocking down a career-high seven 3-pointers.

Sacramento tried to make things interesting in the third quarter, as Garcia's sixth trey of the evening cut what was a 28-point deficit in the second period to 77-66.

"They had a couple of runs, but we were able to hold them off," Carlisle said. "We needed everybody tonight. O.J. came and got us off to a good start offensively, and the guys off the bench picked up for us defensively, especially during that second-quarter run."

The Mavericks were back up 88-70 by the end of the third, and they coasted from there. Dallas, 7-3 at home this season, begins a three-game road trip Wednesday at Boston.

"We're in a good place right now," Jones said. "We've made a lot of adjustments, we have some great leadership with Derek Fisher, great guys coming off the bench and we're doing a lot of positive things. Our confidence is at a high place right now."

Sacramento had 20 turnovers leading to 32 Dallas points, which is the most allowed by the Kings this season. The Mavericks only turned it over 10 times.

A tight game began to get away from Sacramento late in the first quarter and only got worse in the second. The Mavericks opened up their first double-digit lead less than two minutes into the second quarter and pushed it to 61-33 during a 32-4 run.

"It was a tough loss for us tonight," Garcia said. "We were playing so good and they were really making shots on us tonight. They started the game with crazy runs and were making every shot. So it was really hard for us to make a comeback tonight."

The Kings didn't score in the second quarter until there was 6:10 left. Dallas took a 65-43 lead into halftime, notching team bests for points scored and points allowed in a first half this season.

"That kind of took you out of what you can do in that second quarter," Sacramento coach Keith Smart said. "You have to try to get guys back in the game and try and reestablish themselves, but by that time, we couldn't recover from what happened earlier in that second quarter.

"You've just got to make the adjustment and get starters out a little sooner and then get them back into the quarter a little bit sooner."

Both teams did come out firing during an up-tempo first quarter, combining for nine 3-pointers. The Mavs had a 7-0 spurt late in the period to take a 36-29 advantage into the second.

Mayo and Kaman each scored 10 points in the first quarter for Dallas. The Kings' scoring in the period came entirely from the starting five, with Aaron Brooks leading the way with eight points.

Sacramento continues a four-game road trip with the third game Wednesday at Milwaukee.

NOTES: Dirk Nowitzki received the Naismith Legacy Award at halftime from Jim Naismith, the grandson of basketball inventor Dr. James Naismith. The award honors players, coaches and other individuals or organizations for their role in furthering the values of honor, respect and integrity. "We want to recognize folks that have had significant contributions to the game of basketball," said Damon Fogal, CEO of the Naismith Legacy Foundation. "It's the first time we've given this award to an international player. Dirk has had a huge impact in the world of basketball across the globe." Nowitzki hopes to be cleared to practice in a week or so. He's been out all season after knee surgery. ... Kings guard Tyreke Evans (knee) and Mavericks forward Shawn Marion (groin) were out. ... Kaman started despite dealing with a sprained left ankle. ... Sacramento's skid at Dallas is the third-longest active road losing streak in the league. The Kings' last road victory against the Mavericks came in 2003.

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