3-6-07 -- The Dallas Mavericks have a 16-game winning streak and a playoff berth after their 102-89 victory over the New Jersey Nets on Tuesday night.
The Mavs have won 23 in a row at home. They are a league-best 51-9, with only two losses since Dec. 12. They'll get to rest on their success and savor being the first team to clinch a playoff spot, because they don't play again until Sunday night.
Jason Terry had 24 points, a kiss for an elderly fan, and some good defense to open the fourth quarter.
New Jersey was within a point after scoring with 1:23 left in third quarter, but didn't score again for more than 6 minutes, missing nine straight shots. Dallas stretched the lead to 10 and held on the rest of the way.
Terry did his best to protect it, even diving into the second row to try keeping alive a rebound. He knocked over a gray-haired woman in the process, then went back and gave her a peck on the cheek once he saw she was OK. Jason 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."
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.
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.
Vince Carter scored 32 points to lead the Nets, who dropped their third 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.
Kidd had 11 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, narrowly missing another triple double. In his previous game, Kidd became the first player with 10 triple-doubles in a season in 10 years.
Mikki Moore added 20 points for New Jersey.