Despite seven discouraging losses in a row, Dallas’ Jamal Mas
ATLANTA (AP) _ Despite seven discouraging losses in a row, Dallas’ Jamal Mashburn kept his relentless scoring alive and saw it pay off against the Atlanta Hawks.
Mashburn scored 33 points Friday night as the Mavericks dominated Atlanta 106-98. It was the seventh of the Mavericks’ last eight games in which he scored 20 or more points.
``Mashburn’s a great player. Give him credit,″ said Atlanta’s Steve Smith. ``He’s one of the best one-on-one guys in the league.″
Dallas’ mood as a team had been noticeably down until Friday, when a jolt of positive vibes helped the Mavericks catch Atlanta in a slump, said Dallas coach Dick Motta.
``Everything was upbeat and positive,″ he said. ``We got a good lead, but you know a good team like Atlanta is going to come back on you. The thing I was worried about was that we needed to win so badly that we would get a little tentative.″
The same victory that snapped the Mavericks’ losing streak was also the Hawks’ first loss in four games.
``This was the worst game we’ve played all season,″ said Hawks coach Lenny Wilkens. ``We didn’t have much energy tonight. We stood around and looked at rebounds, we didn’t have any patience. We were totally out of whack tonight.″
Dallas secured the lead at the outset of the third period and held an 18-point lead, 73-55, with 7:48 left.
The Hawks cut the lead to 94-91 after Smith scored two free throws with 4:12 remaining in the game. But Dallas outscored Atlanta 12-7 for the remainder of the game.
Friday marked the Mavericks’ first win over Atlanta in six games. The two teams ended their season series 1-1.
The win gave Motta his 898th victory, putting him within two games of becoming the third NBA coach to reach 900. Wilkens has 977 wins.
Jim Jackson scored 28 for the Mavericks, coming back a 6-point effort against Orlando on Thursday.
Smith led the Hawks in scoring with 26. Stacey Augmon had 16 and Grant Long contributed 13.