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Mavs snap losing streak

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- While Peja Stojakovic and Chris Webber
sat out for Sacramento, the real Dallas Mavericks finally stood up.

Dirk Nowitzki scored 22 of his 31 points in the Mavericks'
fantastic second half, and Antoine Walker's fifth 3-pointer was the
go-ahead basket in Dallas' 111-103 victory over the Kings on
Thursday.

Dallas snapped a four-game losing streak with yet another
victory in Sacramento, the NBA's toughest road stop over the last
four seasons. Walker had 23 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists
for the Mavs, who have won five of six regular-season games at Arco
Arena.

And thanks to a prolific second half, they might have turned a
corner in their disappointing season. After stumbling to a 16-point
deficit at halftime, Dallas outscored the short-handed Kings 67-43.

"If you look at our team, we have an unbelievable squad," said
Nowitzki, who also had 14 rebounds and didn't make a turnover in 47
minutes. "We just haven't been clicking. It was fun to watch us
finally come through. It's good to see that we can still execute."

But the Kings weren't impressed, even though Dallas handed them
just their second home loss of the season. They were without
Stojakovic, who was suspended, and Webber, who hasn't played since
blowing out his knee early in the teams' second-round playoff
series last spring, won in seven games by Dallas.

"I think if we had had Peja, it would have been a different
story," said Vlade Divac, who had 21 points. "We would have been
guarding them differently. The problem was in the second half. They
started to make 3s."

In the second half, four Dallas players combined for 10
3-pointers. Coach Don Nelson abandoned any set plays until the
final moments, allowing his stars to create their own shots -- and
for the first time in weeks, they did it splendidly.

"We didn't think. We just went out there and played
basketball," said Antawn Jamison, who had 22 points in just his
second start of the season. "The coaches gave us the freedom, and
we're a talented team that can take advantage of that. It feels so
good to finally start playing that way."

No matter the Kings' circumstances, the Mavericks were energized
by just the fourth road win of their disappointing season. Starting
with Walker's 3-pointer with 1:04 left, Dallas scored the game's
final eight points.

Steve Nash added 14 points and 11 assists, and Michael Finley
emerged from a rough outing to hit a 3-pointer for the Mavericks
with 37 seconds left.

"Obviously, we needed to stop that losing streak, but we also
played a good half of basketball, which we haven't seen in a
while," Walker said. "Hopefully we can use it as a springboard."

Stojakovic became the NBA's second-leading scorer with 24.9
points per game after his career-best 41 against Memphis on Tuesday
night. But the mild-mannered Serbian All-Star also angrily brushed
against referee Bernie Fryer, earning the first one-game suspension
of his career.

Mike Bibby scored 23 points for the Kings, who dropped to 15-2
at home this season with just their third loss in their last 19
games overall. Brad Miller had 13 points, 12 rebounds and nine
assists before fouling out.

"Our guys played really hard, but the Mavericks were just great
shooting the 3 in the second half," Kings coach Rick Adelman said.
"It was somebody different each time. We had our chances, but they
just made so many shots that we didn't have an answer for."

Game notes
Finley didn't make a shot until the final minute of the
third quarter, missing nine straight, but finished with 12 points
on 3-of-15 shooting. ... The Kings were forced to change their
starting lineup for the first time this season, inserting Gerald
Wallace into Stojakovic's spot. Wallace, a disappointment so far
this season, responded with 13 points in the first half, finishing
with 16 and a career-high 11 rebounds.