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Mavericks Rally to Stay Unbeaten

November 24, 2002|From Associated Press

DALLAS — Anyone who doubts whether the Dallas Mavericks are the NBA's best team might think differently after seeing how they won their 13th in a row.

Trailing by 16 points late in the third quarter, their zone defense failing and their offensive touch missing, the Mavericks put everything together in a thrilling fourth quarter to pull out a 115-105 victory over the Seattle SuperSonics on Saturday night.

Led by Dirk Nowitzki, Michael Finley and Steve Nash, Dallas used an 18-1 run to catapult into the lead. Seattle went ahead once, but the Mavericks answered on their next possession to continue the best roll in franchise history.

"To find a way to win games like this is a sign of a champion," said Finley, who had 29 points and 11 rebounds. "We found a way tonight."

Dallas' hot streak is the fourth-best in league history. The only three teams that have done better all made it to the NBA Finals.

The Mavericks will try to match the 14-0 start by Boston in 1957-58 when they play at Detroit on Wednesday. They could be going for the record of 15-0 -- set by Washington in 1948-49 and tied by Houston in 1993-94 -- on Thursday at Indiana.

The SuperSonics led by 16 points in the first quarter, and also late in the third quarter, silencing a crowd of 20,011.

"You have to be aggressive," Seattle Coach Nate McMillan said. "We did that for three quarters and then we got back on our heels."

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Best Starts

The longest winning streaks at the beginning of a season in NBA history:

*--* 15 Washington Capitols 1948-49 15 Houston Rockets 1993-94 14 Boston Celtics 1957-58 13 Dallas Mavericks 2002-03 12 Seattle SuperSonics 1982-83 12 Chicago Bulls 1996-97

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