DALLAS -- As if 16 wins in a row, 23 straight home wins and a clinched playoff berth weren't enough, Jason Terry provided something extra for one fan Tuesday night -- a smooch.
Terry apologized for diving into an elderly woman by giving her a kiss after the play, then returned to help the Dallas Mavericks finish off a milestone-filled, 102-89 victory over the New Jersey Nets.
"I saw that she was dazed. I wanted to give her a kiss to wake her up," said Terry, who scored 24 points. "A little kiss never hurts anyone."
The franchise-best winning streaks have upped the Mavs' record to 51-9, enough to guarantee a spot in the playoffs even if they somehow don't win any of their final 22 games. They get the next four days off to savor what they've accomplished so far, even if they do their best to minimize it.
"My assistant called me today and said, `Let's go for No. 16.' My kids are excited about it. But that's the only time we talk about it," coach Avery Johnson said. "Like (Jerry) Stackhouse says, our fans are more excited about it than we are."
Dirk Nowitzki had 22 points and 11 rebounds, and Erick Dampier had 14 rebounds and 12 points, including a tough put-back of a miss by Nowitzki that kept Dallas up 95-86 with a little over a minute left. The Mavs are now 15-1 when Dampier has at least 10 points.
n"He was really active from start to finish," Johnson said.
Vince Carter scored 32 points to lead the Nets, who have dropped three straight. They fell to 0-2 on a six-game road trip.
Carter was 10 of 25, with eight assists and six rebounds. He started 1-for-8, after missing his last 14 shots in his previous game.
"I wanted to be aggressive," he said. "But I missed a lot of shots. For me, that's not acceptable."
After the teams traded early 14-0 runs, the game was tight for most of the middle two quarters. Dallas led by only one point with 1:23 left in the third quarter.
Then New Jersey went more than 6 minutes without scoring, missing nine straight shots. The Mavericks stretched the lead to 10 and held on the rest of the way, although the Nets got as close as 88-84.
"If we get that kind of effort every night, we've got a good chance," said Jason Kidd, who had 11 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. "We gave ourselves a chance to win against a very good team."
Terry was 9 of 15, with three 3-pointers. He came in averaging 19.8 points on 58.8 percent shooting over the last six games.
He hit several big shots down the stretch, plus dived into the second row to try keeping alive a late rebound, knocking over a gray-haired woman in the process. He's known her since coming to Dallas three years ago and earlier in the game had noticed she had blinking lights in her mouth.
So once courtside personnel checked her out, he went over to let her know he was glad she was OK. After the peck on the cheek, Kidd teasingly shoved Terry back toward the woman, drawing a laugh from Terry and prompting the public-address announcer to say, "There's a lot of love in here tonight."
Kidd narrowly missed his second straight triple double. The one in his previous game made him the first player with 10 triple-doubles in a season in 10 years.
Mikki Moore added 20 points for New Jersey.
"One of the reasons Dallas is so good is their bench," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "One guy gets into foul trouble and they bring in a guy just as good."
Devean George scored only three points for the Mavericks, but more importantly he played nine minutes after missing the previous seven games with a knee injury.
He'll get more time to rest with the upcoming layoff.
"We didn't want to go into four days with Avery with a loss," Terry said.
|Jason Terry gets up close and personal with Dallas fans as the Mavs win their 16th consecutive game. (AP)|
|New Jersey (28-33)||18||23||27||21||89|
|Dallas (51-9) «||25||22||25||30||102|
|NJ:V. Carter 32 Pts
NJ:J. Kidd 8 Reb
NJ:J. Kidd 8 Ast
|DAL:J. Terry 24 Pts
DAL:E. Dampier 14 Reb
DAL:D. Nowitzki 5 Ast
|Players of the Game|
Dallas Mavericks Jersey #41 Notwitzki
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|V. Carter, SG||43||10-25||12-13||6||8||2||32|
|J. Kidd, PG||41||4-11||1-1||8||8||2||11|
|M. Moore, PF||35||9-12||2-3||1||2||5||20|
|J. Collins, C||21||2-2||0-2||3||0||3||4|
|H. Adams, SF||20||2-3||0-0||4||1||0||4|
|B. Nachbar, SF||27||1-6||3-5||4||0||2||5|
|C. Robinson, PF||23||1-4||0-0||6||0||3||3|
|E. House, PG||16||3-7||0-0||2||0||1||8|
|M. Williams, PG||8||1-5||0-0||1||1||2||2|
|J. Boone, PF||7||0-1||0-0||3||0||0||0|
|A. Wright, SF||Did Not Play|
|R. Jefferson, SF||Did Not Play|
|N. Krstic, C||Did Not Play|
|B. Robinson, SG||Did Not Play|
|M. Ilic, C||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|
|D. Nowitzki, PF||40||8-17||6-6||11||5||2||22|
|J. Terry, PG||35||9-15||3-3||3||3||3||24|
|E. Dampier, C||33||5-7||2-3||14||1||3||12|
|G. Buckner, SG||28||4-7||0-0||2||1||5||10|
|J. Howard, SF||25||4-10||2-2||3||1||4||10|
|J. Stackhouse, SF||29||4-11||2-2||1||4||2||10|
|D. Harris, PG||23||5-9||0-0||3||3||1||11|
|D. Diop, C||13||0-1||0-0||3||0||2||0|
|D. George, SF||9||1-4||0-0||2||0||0||3|
|A. Croshere, PF||6||0-1||0-0||0||0||0||0|
|D. Mbenga, C||Did Not Play|
|M. Ager, SG||Did Not Play|
|P. Mensah-Bonsu, PF||Did Not Play|
|J. Barea, PG||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|