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Mavericks clip Hawks, 'over' easily cashes

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ATLANTA (AP) - Dallas coach Rick Carlisle called it a ``defensive pillow fight.''

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If so, Atlanta coach Larry Drew felt like his team didn't bring enough pillows.

Darren Collison scored 24 points and the hot-shooting Mavericks set season highs for points in a half and a game in a 127-113 victory over the Hawks on Monday night.

Carlisle said the Mavericks would ``take the win and run'' after scoring at least 29 points in each quarter.

The Mavericks began the day 11th in the Western Conference, four games behind the eighth-place Lakers. The schedule could help Dallas gain ground in the playoff standings. The Mavericks play Brooklyn on Wednesday night in their first of six straight home games.

``We've been bouncing back all year,'' Carlisle said. ``We've had a lot of opportunities to do that, unfortunately. We've got 15 left and we're going to throw the kitchen sink at all 15.

``We're going to have to be right and we're going to have to be together.''

The Mavericks have made the postseason 12 years in a row.

``We still believe,'' Collison said. ``We still believe we can make it. There's no quit in us. We believe that every game from here out we can get a win. We're talented enough. We've got the players to do it.''

Dallas led 68-55 at halftime and kept adding to the lead in the second half. Dirk Nowitzki, who had 22 points, hit two free throws as the Mavericks reached 100 with their first points of the final period.

Dallas made 57.3 percent of its shots (51 of 89). The Hawks also had a strong night on offense, shooting 56 percent from the field with eight scorers in double figures, but could come no closer than 11 points in the second half.

``They had their mind made up that they were bringing it to us, and we didn't respond very well to it,'' Drew said. ``That's not acceptable at this stage of the season. We only have 15 regular-season games remaining. At this stage, there can be no excuses.''

Collison made 10 of 14 shots from the field, going 2 of 3 from 3-point range. He had 15 points in the second period.

``I was able to get it going,'' Collison said. ``A lot of players in this league, once they get it going that basket looks bigger and bigger, and that's what happened in the second quarter.''

Jeff Teague scored 19 points, Al Horford had 16 points and 11 rebounds, and Josh Smith added 13 points for Atlanta.

The Hawks, coming off a win at Brooklyn on Sunday, began the night fifth in the Eastern Conference.

O.J. Mayo scored 17 points and Chris Kaman had 14 for Dallas. Led by Collison, the Mavericks had three reserves in double figures. Vince Carter had 13 and Brandan Wright 12.

The Mavericks were playing their fourth game in five nights, but they appeared to play with more energy than the Hawks.

``We really had no answer for them,'' Drew said. ``We looked like we were a step slow. ... We didn't guard. We had no defensive presence whatsoever.''

The Mavericks' 68 first-half points were also the most allowed by the Hawks this season. Dallas outscored Atlanta 34-25 in the opening period.

``They were by far the more aggressive team tonight,'' Horford said.

``They really pushed the tempo. I think what killed us was those (15) turnovers. Those were deflating. We're on the break, we're about to score and we throw the ball away. I think that's what really set the tone in the game.''

Collison had 18 points in the half as the Mavericks made 29 of 46 shots (63 percent). The Hawks couldn't keep pace despite shooting 56 percent (19 of 35) from the field.

There was a delay after the third quarter when a Hawks cheerleader, identified by the team only by her first name of Kristen, slipped and hit the back of her head and neck during a dance routine. She did not lose consciousness, according to the Hawks, and was taken to the Atlanta Medical Center for treatment after leaving the court on a stretcher.

NOTES: The Mavericks' previous high for points in a half was 65 in the second half against the Knicks on Nov. 21. Dallas set its previous scoring high in a 126-99 win over Charlotte on Nov. 3. ... The Hawks' previous high for points allowed came in a 123-104 loss at Houston on Dec. 31. ... Dallas had 33 assists, including five by Nowitzki. ... Kyle Korver, who had 11 points, extended his streak of games with at least one 3-pointer to 60. ... Hawks C Zaza Pachulia (sore right Achilles) missed his ninth straight game.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

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The Associated Press
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