Thomas has the hot hand

DALLAS -- OK, maybe Tim Thomas can replace Dirk Nowitzki's production.

In his first start for the Mavericks, Thomas has 18 points midway through the third quarter. He's 7-of-12 from the floor, including 2-of-4 from 3-point range. He's even busted out his trademark move of blowing on his right hand to cool it off.

The Mavs, who lead by five, haven't missed Nowitzki's scoring punch, thanks to a veteran power forward who didn't get off the bench in four of the previous seven games.