Distraction of possible trade doesn't slow Mavs


Devean George skipped pregame shooting Wednesday night because he was talking to his agent about whether to accept a trade that would've brought Jason Kidd to the Dallas Mavericks.

The Mavs probably wish he'd taken the game off to think about it some more.

George nixed the deal, then went 0-for-11, failing to score a point in 33 minutes against the Portland Trail Blazers. Dallas overcame his performance and the distraction of the possible trade because Dirk Nowitzki scored a season-high 37 points and Jason Terry added 24, carrying the Mavericks to a 96-76 victory.

"Man, it was tough for me," George said.

The deal was supposed to be George, emerging point guard Devin Harris, veteran Jerry Stackhouse and reserves DeSagana Diop and Maurice Ager going to New Jersey and Kidd, Malik Allen and Antoine Wright going to Dallas, according to a league source who spoke on condition of anonymity because it wasn't finalized.

Word that George blocked the trade apparently spread throughout the arena because George said he heard fans hollering things like, "C'mon, what are you doing?" and, "Stop it, you're holding things up." Other lines included, "Quit being selfish," and "We want Kidd."

"All the finger-pointing is at me," George said. "I'm the bad guy. I'll take that."

George &

who smiled wide and laughed when calling himself "the bad guy" &

said he also was thrown out of whack by missing his usual pregame routine.

"I didn't know if I was playing. Then I got introduced and I'm starting," said George, who got only his second start of the season because Josh Howard was out with a back problem. "My rhythm was off."

Nowitzki felt just fine.

Ignoring the on-again, off-again trade, the absence of Howard and two other key players who are injured, the reigning MVP got things rolling with 13 points in the first quarter and 20 by halftime. He finished 13-of-26, with a pair of 3-pointers and nine free throws. He also had 12 rebounds.

"It was a weird day for everybody, having to play a game after all the talk," Nowitzki said. "But everybody was a professional and put on the uniform for the organization."

Terry, in and out of the starting lineup since Harris went down, was 10-of-19. J.J. Barea scored 11 points and Erick Dampier had 10 points and 11 rebounds.

Harris (ankle) and Stackhouse (hamstring) were inactive, and Ager is in the NBDL. Diop had four points and seven rebounds in 16 minutes.

"It's a business. It happens," Diop said about the possible trade. "If it does happen, you've got to go. It's tough. I love Dallas, love living here and love playing for this team. But it's a job."

Judging by homemade signs, fans were against the deal. One wrote "No Trade, No Kidding," and a section over, there were signs saying "Keep Harris," with a heart dotting the i; another read, "Stop KIDD'n around Cuban!" with faces of three players Dallas would deal below it. Under one basket, though, a poster read, "Welcome Back Kidd."

The Mavericks had lost their last two, blowing early 10-point leads with awful second halves each time. They made sure that didn't happen again, holding Portland to 33 points in the final two quarters on their way to a 10th straight home win.

Brandon Roy scored 25 points for Portland, which goes into the All-Star break having lost four straight and six of eight.

"We looked mentally fatigued," coach Nate McMillan said. "We couldn't sustain our effort for 48 minutes. We've looked kind of drained the last few weeks. We're a young team. It's mental more than anything else."

The Trail Blazers may use their down time over the next week to savor going 28-24 so far after winning only 32 games all last season.

"We need to get away from basketball for a few days and relax," McMillan said.

The Mavericks led 54-43 at halftime. Coach Avery Johnson certainly reminded them of their recent second-half woes during the break and they came out focused enough to limit Portland to 16 points in the third quarter. With 17 in the fourth quarter, the Blazers wound up with their second-lowest total of the season.

Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge, who grew up in the area, scored six points, ending his run of three straight 20-point games. Steve Blake and Travis Outlaw were the only double-digit scorers besides Roy, each having 13 points.


The Mavs did make one player move Wednesday, recalling rookie forward Nick Fazekas from the NBDL. He averaged 19.1 points and 9.9 rebounds in 28 games for Tulsa. He played — minutes and scored a basket. ... The Blazers were 3-of-9 on 3-pointers, a slight improvement from their recent woes behind the arc. They went 5-for-27 over the previous three games. ... Nowitzki had blood on his jersey midway through the fourth quarter, forcing him to change into a new one &

much to the delight of shrieking women in the crowd. Giggles and snickers filled the arena for several seconds. Maybe he noticed; his only miss from the line followed.

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