The Dallas Mavericks’ final step of their grueling climb back to .500 ended up being a pretty easy one.
On a milestone night for Dirk Nowitzki, who joined the 25,000-point club, the Mavs led by double digits from late in the first quarter until the final buzzer. The lead swelled to as large as 27 points in the second quarter.
The Mavs scored with ease against the injury-depleted Hornets’ defense. Shawn Marion (21 points) and Nowitzki (19) led five Mavs in double figures, as Dallas shot 52.3 percent from the floor and committed only eight turnovers. Vince Carter and Brandan Wright added 16 points apiece off the bench.
It was the Mavs' largest margin of victory since March 10, when they won by 23 in Minnesota.
What it means: Those .500 beards can finally go after the Mavs took advantage of their fourth shot at shaving. They also kept alive their goal of finishing the season with a winning record. Dallas has won three of its past four games at New Orleans Arena, where they had lost 11 in a row before this recent run of success. The Hornets fell to 27-54.
Play of the game: This routine midrange jumper had great meaning. Nowitzki became the 17th member of the NBA’s 25,000-point club with his shot over Hornets center Robin Lopez with 6:44 remaining in the second quarter. Nowitzki knew it, too. After the shot swished, he put his right index finger in the air as the Mavs’ bench erupted in applause.
Stat of the night: The Mavs were under .500 for 121 consecutive days. By comparison, they were under .500 for a total of 56 days in the previous 12 seasons, never after the opening month of a season.