Steve Nash finally played like he was worth $6 million a year.
Nash, mired in a shooting slump, hit five 3-pointers and scored a season-high 22 points Saturday night to carry the Dallas Mavericks to a 104-90 victory over the Sacramento Kings.
"It was good to see Steve shoot the ball well," said Dallas coach Don Nelson. "He just needs to build up his confidence. He will be all right. This is more like we expect him to play."
Nash played behind Kevin Johnson and Jason Kidd at Phoenix, and Nelson was so happy to get Nash he signed him to a long-term, six year deal.
It was the most points for Nash since he scored a career high 24 for Phoenix against Denver in April, 1998.
"It was good to see the whole team shooting well," Nash said. "Now we have to try to build on our success at home. We've been playing well here."
It was the seventh Dallas victory in its last 10 games in Reunion Arena.
Nash, shooting only 35 percent from the field, got plenty of scoring help from his teammates as Dallas won the season series 2-1. Nash took 10 3-point shots, was 7-for-17 overall and added four assists.
Gary Trent had 22 points and 11 rebounds and Michael Finley scored 16 of his 22 points in the second half. Finley scored 10 straight points in one surge as Dallas protected a nine-point halftime lead. Hubert Davis added 17 points, including four-of-six beyond the 3-point line.
"If we had shot the ball in our first 15 games like this we would have had five more wins," Nelson said.
Dallas had a season-high nine 3-pointers.
Tariq Abdul-Wahad scored 16 points for Sacramento, Vlade Divac scored 15 points, Corliss Williamson added 13, and Chris Webber contributed 12 points and 16 rebounds.
Sacramento coach Rick Adelman said the Mavs were too hot to handle.
"Each time we try o make a run they would hit a 3-pointer," Adelman said. "Nash made a lot of shots early and got some confidence."
Sacramento went 5:30 in the first half without scoring a point and the Mavericks took advantage of the shooting lapse to build a 56-47 lead at intermission behind Nash's 15 points and 14 by Trent.
Notes: Dallas has used 10 different starting lineups this season. ... Sacramento went into the game leading the NBA in scoring with a 99.4 points per game average...The Kings are one of only three teams to start the same five players in every game this season. The others are Indiana and Philadelphia...The Kings are 1-12 this year when held under 100 points...Dallas leads the all-time series 46-45. ... Nash's previous season-high was 19 points...Dallas is 4-0 when scoring 100 points.
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