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Hornets handed first loss of year as Mavericks ride Jason Terry's 26 points

DALLAS -- Jason Terry, Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki made pressure shots down the stretch to spoil the New Orleans Hornets' perfect start.

Terry scored 26 points, including the go-ahead jumper in the final minute, Nowitzki contributed 25 points and 10 rebounds, and the Dallas Mavericks handed the Hornets their first loss of the season, 98-95 on Monday night.

In the fourth quarter, Terry drained two 3-pointers and had 10 points, Kidd connected on all three 3-pointers, and Nowitzki added eight points and five rebounds.

Terry went 2 for 11 from the floor in the first half, but he stayed aggressive and hit seven of eight second-half shots.

"I was missing wide-open shots, ones that I practice," Terry said. "I'm a shooter, I'm going to keep shooting."

The Mavs rallied from a 10-point, fourth-quarter deficit with a three-guard lineup featuring Terry, Kidd and J.J. Barea to stretch their winning streak to four games.

"It was an attempt to get more playmaking into the game, get more penetration in the game," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. "That was a gamble because when you go small, you don't have the length and they are a very long team. But the group that finished did a great job."

New Orleans had been off to a franchise-best 8-0 start and was the NBA's last unbeaten team.

The Hornets got 22 points and nine assists from Chris Paul, but Paul had only two second-half points. Peja Stojakovic added 17 points, Trevor Ariza had 13 points and seven assists, and Emeka Okafor pulled down 14 rebounds for New Orleans.

Terry's 17-footer with 46 seconds remaining gave the Mavericks a 95-92 edge, but Ariza's 3-pointer with 40 seconds left tied it at 95.

Terry hit an 18-footer with 34 seconds to play for a 97-95 advantage. Nowitzki made only one free throw with 2.8 seconds left, giving New Orleans a final chance to tie, but Okafor missed a contested 25-footer at the buzzer.

The teams have a rematch Wednesday night in New Orleans.

"It's special because it's like a mini-playoff series," Terry said. "And we held serve by winning at home, and now we go on the road. That's kind of fun, this early in the season to have something like that."

The Hornets were hurt by missing eight of 24 free throws. The Mavericks weren't much better from the line, missing eight of 27.

After the Mavs trailed by as many as 11 in the third quarter, Terry made 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to open the final period, pulling the Mavericks within 78-75.

Paul, who spent the final 7:34 of the third quarter on the bench with four fouls, returned about two minutes into the fourth quarter.

Four consecutive 3-pointers by Willie Green, Stojakovic, Green and Stojakovic gave the Hornets a 90-83 lead with 6:04 remaining. Dallas came back with a 13-3 spurt, capped by Nowitzki's 3-pointer with 3:20 to play to tie it at 90.

New Orleans used a 10-0 run early in the third quarter for a 62-52 pad, but Paul went to the bench after collecting his fourth foul. Even without him for the rest of the quarter, the Hornets held a 76-69 edge at the end of three.

"You can't do nothing on the bench," Paul said of his foul difficulties. "That's my fault. I felt like the fouls were here or there, that's my fault, I can't expect the refs to not call it."

Paul, averaging 17 points in the first eight games, went 8 of 11 from the field to send New Orleans to a 52-47 advantage at the break.

Dallas made defensive changes that limited Paul to 1-for-5 shooting in the second half.

"Well, that's the game, I wouldn't say it was anything on him," Hornets coach Monty Williams said. "The guy drops 20 on you, you're going to make some adjustments. There was nothing wrong with him, he just didn't get the looks he had in the first half."

Game notes
Hornets G Marcus Thornton is slowed by a bruised thigh and was among the inactives. ... Mavericks G/F Caron Butler (14.7 ppg., third on the team) sat out his third straight game with back spasms. ... Dallas G Roddy Beaubois is out of a walking boot protecting his surgically repaired foot, but hasn't been cleared for basketball activity. ... New Orleans has held its first nine opponents to less than 100 points.