Mavericks carry win streak into New Orleans

The Dallas Mavericks will carry their two-game winning streak into the Big Easy Friday night when they take on the New Orleans Hornets.

The Mavs bested the Sacramento Kings just before the All-Star break, then handled the Orlando Magic, 111-96, on Wednesday. Both victories came at home and capped off a 4-1 homestand.

After Friday's trip to Bourbon Street, the Mavs come back home for two straight against the Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks.

The Mavericks exploded for 42 points in the first quarter against the Magic. Orlando made it close, but Dallas held the Magic to 14 fourth-quarter points and won going away.

Shawn Marion and Elton Brand led the way for the Mavs with 17 points apiece. Vince Carter chipped in 14 off the bench, O.J. Mayo went for 13. Dirk Nowitzki and Mike James added 12 points each in a well-balanced Dallas attack.

Dallas has had little problem scoring the ball, going for over 100 in its last five games. The Mavericks are playing better, but are putting Wednesday's win behind them quickly.

"Now, we've got to get ready for Friday," said head coach Rick Carlisle. "New Orleans is an improving team and they beat us last time, so it's going to be another tough game."

The Hornets toppled the Mavericks in Dallas on Jan. 5 in an overtime battle.

The Hornets have dropped two straight since the break. They lost to the Chicago Bulls at home on Tuesday, then fell in Cleveland to the Cavaliers, 105-100, on Wednesday.

New Orleans couldn't stop Kyrie Irving down the stretch. The All-Star and reigning Three-Point Shootout champion scored 20 of his game-high 35 in the fourth quarter and Irving himself scored 11 straight late to preserve the victory.

Hornets coach Monty Williams was certainly disappointed in how his team defended Irving.

"I think for the most part we gave in, allowing him to go the basket," said Williams. "Robin (Lopez) and Jason (Smith) tried to take some hard fouls tonight but our other bigs didn't even attempt to give him any resistance at the basket. You've got to take a hard foul and make him shoot free throws."

Brian Roberts led the Hornets with 17 points in a reserve role against the Cavs. Lopez, Smith, Anthony Davis, Austin Rivers and Greivis Vasquez all scored in double figures.

Eric Gordon missed Wednesday's game as he doesn't play the second of back-to- back nights.

The Hornets have won two straight over the Mavs, who are 1-9 in their last 10 in New Orleans.