Mavs rookie leads three 20-point scorers

DALLAS (AP) -- Playing with the desperation of a team facing

elimination, even though they weren't, the Dallas Mavericks began

climbing back into their first-round series against the Sacramento

Kings on Saturday night.

And it took an undrafted rookie to get them going.

Marquis Daniels shook, spun and shot his way to 11 of his 22

points during a third-quarter spurt that deflated the Kings and

sent the Mavericks to a 104-79 victory in Game 3.

Dallas, down 2-1 in the series, has a chance to even it in Game

4 Monday night. Game 5 in Sacramento is on Thursday night.

The Mavs came in confident of getting a lift merely by being at

home, where they were a league-best 36-5 this season. They got off

to a great start, too, yet led by only seven at halftime and had

plenty of things going wrong, starting with four fouls on point

guard Steve Nash.

His extended minutes, despite the mounting fouls, was a clear

indication of the importance Dallas coach Don Nelson put on

avoiding an 0-3 hole, something no team in league history has

overcome. Nelson also hardly rested Dirk Nowitzki after he got two

fouls the first eight minutes.

The Kings were lucky to be so close at the half. Peja Stojakovic

had just five points and Doug Christie and Vlade Divac were

scoreless. Sacramento coach Rick Adelman had to figure his players

would start clicking sooner or later.

But Dallas opened the third quarter with far more energy and

never let up, while the Kings just seemed to give up.

Sacramento overcame an early burst to get back within 11, then

Nash hit a wide-open 3-pointer to start an 11-0 run and the game

was never close again.

Sacramento took itself out by making just 4-of-16 shots in the

third quarter, missing its last seven. The Kings, who never led,

came within two points of matching their lowest total of the


A big problem was their inability to contain Daniels.

He opened the third with a 20-footer, then shook different

defenders to swish two jumpers in the lane. He added a reverse

layup in transition and followed with a three-point play on a fast


Daniels, who became a starter for the last 12 games of the

regular season, was 10-of-20 and often ran the offense, easing the

burden on Nash.

Nowitzki remained a consistent force with 21 points and Michael

Finley added 18, one shy of his total for the first two games. Nash

had seven points, five rebounds and five assists in just 27

minutes. He also never got a fifth foul, much less a sixth.

Eduardo Najera again provided a spark off the bench, frustrating

Chris Webber with his tight defense. He provided three steals and

three fouls in nine minutes. Antawn Jamison scored 20 and Josh

Howard, another rookie, contributed 14 rebounds.

Sacramento's Mike Bibby showed no signs of a strained hip

sustained in practice Friday, scoring 22 points. He had 15 of

Sacramento's 25 first-quarter points, making six straight shots

along the way.

Webber playing on the court where last postseason he sustained

the knee injury that kept him out for much of this season, was

9-for-17 for 22 points.

But Webber and Bibby got little help.

Stojakovic was 2-for-9 for seven points, Divac 1-for-5 for four

and Christie missed his first eight shots, including three


Midway through the fourth, Christie was Sacramento's only

starter on the court in a quest to regain his touch. He made his

last two shots to finish with five points.

Game notes
Nash hasn't fouled out in five seasons or in his previous

100 career playoff games. ... The second quarter was such a

brick-fest (7-of-23 by Sacramento, 7-of-22 for Dallas) that only

Webber and Nowitzki made more than one field goal. ... NBA vice

president Stu Jackson presented Jamison with the Sixth Man award

before tipoff.