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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Magic whip Mavs

DALLAS (AP) Dwight Howard regularly dominates in the paint for the Orlando Magic. The X-factor for the team is their 3-point shooting.

News photo
Hardwood clash: Orlando's Vince Carter drives on Caron Butler of the Mavericks during the fourth quarter on Thursday night. The Magic won 97-82. AP PHOTO

Howard had 17 points, 20 rebounds and five blocked shots, and his teammates converted 14 of 24 attempts from 3-point range as the Magic atoned for an earlier loss to Dallas with a 97-82 victory over the Mavericks on Thursday night.

Reserve Mickael Pietrus had a season-high 24 points, making all six of his 3-point attempts, and Vince Carter added 19 points to help Orlando win for the 14th time in 16 games.

"We know how good we are," said Jameer Nelson, who scored 14 points. "We're not cocky or overconfident or anything, but we know we can beat anybody when we play our game. We played great defensively, pushed the ball and got good shots when we needed to."

Dirk Nowitzki scored 24 points to lead the Mavericks, whose three-game winning streak ended. Jason Terry and J.J. Barea had 16 points apiece in reserve roles for Dallas.

Nowitzki's fellow starters — Shawn Marion, Brendan Haywood, Caron Butler and Jason Kidd — combined for only 20 points.

Howard's shot-blocking helped limit the Mavericks to 31-for-81 shooting, and Dallas made only 4 of 14 from beyond the arc.

"Coach puts a lot on me to be the backbone of the defense and I just try to do my best erasing mistakes, but also give my teammates confidence that if they lock down their man, if they make a mistake and let their man drive, I'll be there," Howard said.

The Mavericks were 95-85 winners at Orlando on Feb. 19 in the only other meeting between the league powers this season. The Magic, who lead the NBA in 3-pointers made and attempted, connected on only 4 of 25 from beyond the arc in that loss.

"We got the same looks, we just moved the ball and shot with confidence," Carter said. "Some nights it's going to be like that."

Nuggets 109, Blazers 92

In Denver, Carmelo Anthony scored 13 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, helping the Nuggets rebound from a tough week to beat Portland.

Andre Miller scored 24 points to lead the Blazers.

Finalists announced

LOS ANGELES (AP) Jon Scheyer of Duke and Da'Sean Butler of West Virginia are among 10 finalists for the John R. Wooden Award as men's college basketball player of the year.

Kentucky freshmen John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins were among the other finalists announced Thursday.

Scheyer averages 18.6 points for Duke, which will play West Virginia in the Final Four on Saturday. Butler averages 17.4 points and 6.3 rebounds for the Mountaineers.

The other finalists are James Anderson of Oklahoma State, Sherron Collins of Kansas, Wesley Johnson of Syracuse, Scottie Reynolds of Villanova, Evan Turner of Ohio State, and Greivis Vasquez of Maryland.

The Wooden Award will be presented April 9 at the Los Angeles Athletic Club.



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