Even without injured Nowitzki, Mavs beat Cavs and ruin LeBrons 500th game

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With superstar Dirk Nowitzki looking on in street clothes, the versatile Dallas Mavericks still found a way to spoil LeBron James' 500th NBA game.
Tim Thomas replaced Nowitzki in the starting lineup and did a nice impression with 22 points, and the Mavericks beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 102-95 Sunday night.
While Dallas had no problem scoring, it was on defence where the Mavericks really did a number on the Cavs.
James scored only two of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, and Shaquille O'Neal made only one basket all game. Mo Williams scored just eight points as Cleveland ended a five-game winning streak and a four-game winning streak over the Mavericks.
"I think we just went about it the same way as if Dirk was playing," said Jason Kidd, who had 10 points and 11 assists for Dallas. "We didn't make a big emphasis on 'Dirk's out so we've got to get 25 points from one individual.' We've got enough guys who can put the ball in the basket. We have to play defence and as a team we did that tonight."
Elsewhere in the NBA it was: Toronto 98 New Orleans 92; Los Angeles Lakers 93 Detroit 81; Boston 122 Minnesota 104; Memphis 102 Denver 96; Portland 102 Miami 95; and New York 98 Charlotte 94.
At Dallas, the Cavaliers fell behind midway through the second quarter and never regained the lead. They came as close as 84-83 in the fourth quarter, but the Mavericks pulled away with a 12-4 spurt capped by three-pointers from Kidd and Jason Terry.
Dallas won for the sixth time in seven games. Both teams are now 20-8.
"That's why they're one of the best teams in the league," James said. "Even without Dirk they've got all-stars like Josh Howard and Jason Kidd and Jason Terry. Tim Thomas played great tonight. Guys stepped up."
Nowitzki was recovering from a gruesome collision with Houston's Carl Landry on Friday night in which Landry lost five teeth, two of them becoming embedded in Nowitzki's right elbow. He needed several stitches to close the wound and lots of medicine and treatment Saturday, but on Sunday he was just too sore, stiff and sensitive to the touch.
"I tried to go a little bit, got some jumpers up before the game, but I just couldn't get my elbow up, couldn't really extend it, so it didn't really make any sense (to play)," Nowitzki said. "Looking at the game now, it was a great decision. We got the win and I got a little rest."
He's hoping to return Tuesday night against Portland.
"I'm on every pill there is," he said. "We'll just see how it responds. If it's not Tuesday, definitely on (Saturday)."
Thomas started for the first time since joining Dallas, and was playing only his 12th game because of injuries. He was 7-of-14 with seven rebounds and two assists. He played a lot like Nowitzki, too, mixing a pair of three-pointers with some inside baskets and six free throws.
"I just wanted to be aggressive with the minutes I was given tonight," Thomas said. "For the last couple of years I've been stuck in situations where I've been pretty much stuck behind the three-point line, and coming into this season I told coach I wanted to get back to playing an all-around game, which is my strength. He's allowed me to do that and that's what I am capable of doing."
Terry scored 19 points, and both Drew Gooden and Shawn Marion had 12 points and eight rebounds. Josh Howard added 14 points and Erick Dampier had eight points and 10 rebounds.
James was 9-of-23 from the floor with six assists and three rebounds. He snapped a streak of 11 straight games with at least 10 points, five rebounds and five assists.
This was the 500th game of his career, and he finished it two rebounds shy of joining Oscar Robertson as the only players with 13,750 points, 3,500 rebounds and 3,250 assists through that milestone.
He also was quite frustrated with the officiating. After a series of calls he didn't like, he threw down a vicious dunk off an alley-oop pass from Delonte West, then stared sharply at one official under the basket, then another near midcourt as he made his way back on defence.
"There was a couple of times I know LeBron drove the ball and he got hit and there was no call," Cleveland coach Mike Brown said. "I've got to do a better job of understanding the rule, because I don't know what's a foul and what's not a foul."
Raptors 98 Hornets 92
At Toronto, Chris Bosh had 25 points and 11 rebounds, and Andrea Bargnani had 13 points and 11 boards to lead the Raptors over New Orleans.
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Lakers 93 Pistons 81
At Auburn Hills, Mich., Kobe Bryant scored 28 points and helped the Los Angeles Lakers build a big lead in a victory over Detroit.
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Celtics 122 Timberwolves 104
At Boston, Paul Pierce scored 29 points and hit all six of his three-point attempts, and the Celtics finished with a season high in points two nights after snapping an 11-game win streak.
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Grizzlies 102 Nuggets 96
At Memphis, Tenn., Zach Randolph had 32 points and a career-high 24 boards, the highest rebound total in the league this season.
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Trail Blazers 102 Heat 95
At Miami, Brandon Roy scored 11 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter and LaMarcus Aldridge added 23 for Portland, which trailed by six with 51/2 minutes remaining.
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Knicks 98 Bobcats 94
At New York, Wilson Chandler scored 26 points, and Danilo Gallinari added 21 points and a huge blocked shot in the closing seconds.

Organizations: Dallas Mavericks, NBA, Los Angeles Lakers Celtics

Geographic location: Dallas, Cleveland, New York Portland Houston Toronto New Orleans Auburn Hills Detroit Boston Memphis, Tenn. Miami

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