Vince Carter scored 26 points to pass Larry Bird on the NBA's career scoring list, and the Dallas Mavericks headed into the All-Star break with a 123-100 victory against the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night.
Carter earned his nickname with circus dunks but can't quite rattle the rim like he used to. He's more dangerous these days from one of the places where Bird did plenty of damage: the 3-point line.
The 14-year veteran turned aside a Sacramento rally in the third quarter by going 5 of 7 from long range and scoring 17 of Dallas' last 21 points in the period. He ended the night with 21,796 career points for 29th on the all-time list, five ahead of Bird.
"There were open shots and I was shooting them to make them. I wasn't shooting to get attention," said Carter, who also became the 11th NBA player with at least 1,600 3-pointers. "I've talked to Larry before. He is a legend and one of the greatest to play the game."
Tyreke Evans scored 23 for the Kings, who lost their 18th straight regular season game in Dallas dating back almost 10 years.
The 3-pointer that pushed Carter past Bird came from a couple of feet behind the line with 2.9 seconds left in the third quarter and gave Dallas a 92-77 lead.
"It seems like every night, one of our guys is breaking a record," said Shawn Marion, one year shy of Carter in NBA experience. "It's cool what we've accomplished in this league. And we got a
'W.' All that stacked on top of each other is good."
Carter was 6 of 9 from beyond the arc, and the Mavericks made six straight from long range spanning the third and fourth quarters. Dallas finished 13 of 34 from 3-point range.
"It speaks to how well he's taken care of himself and longevity," said Dallas coach Rick Carlisle, who played with Bird in Boston. "You don't pass Larry Bird on the scoring list unless you've been in it a long time."
Dirk Nowitzki finished with 17 points, including a 3-pointer to put Dallas ahead 100-79 early in the fourth quarter. Nowitzki also had eight rebounds, six assists and three steals.
The Mavericks were up 18 early in the third quarter before Sacramento went on a 17-6 run to get within seven. Nine of the points came on free throws, and DeMarcus Cousins had a pair of baskets early in the run.
The Mavericks, who rallied from 17 down for an overtime win in Sacramento last month, didn't let the Kings do the same thing on their home court, thanks to Carter. He hit consecutive 3-pointers to end Sacramento's surge and start the Mavericks on a 19-11 run over the final five minutes of the third quarter.
The Kings, playing their fourth game in five nights before the All-Star break, didn't get closer than 17 in the fourth quarter. Cousins and Jason Thompson had 17 apiece, and James Johnson had 16 off the bench.
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Cousins, who had a game-high 13 rebounds, stayed out of trouble for Sacramento after his previous two meetings with Dallas were marred by incidents. He was suspended for a game in December for hitting O.J. Mayo in the groin area during a game in Dallas, and was ejected for a flagrant foul after elbowing Carter last month in Sacramento. The foul helped the Mavericks clinch the overtime win.
Cousins, who insisted the contact was incidental both times, exchanged handshakes and hugs with Mayo and Carter after the game.
"He's going to figure it out," Sacramento coach Keith Smart said. "Believe me, whether it's going to here with the Kings or with anyone else. It's going to happen for the young man. Life is going to settle down and all his game is going to come together."
Neither team led by more than six before the Mavericks went on an 18-4 run for a 57-40 lead late in the first half. Darren Collison had eight points, including a three-point play when he took a feed from Marion for a layup after Marion jumped over diminutive Sacramento guard Isaiah Thomas to catch an entry pass from Nowitzki.
Collison finished with 18 points and nine of Dallas' 27 assists.
The Dallas spurt included the first points from Mayo, whose dunk on an assist from Collison ended an 0-for-4 shooting start for the Mavericks' leading scorer. Mayo finished with 10 points but was 0 of 7 from long range.
It was an efficient first half for the Mavericks, who had 15 assists and just two turnovers while shooting 49 percent and taking a 59-44 lead.
NOTES: Mavericks C Chris Kaman missed his eighth straight game with a concussion sustained in practice Jan. 28. He has passed the league-mandated concussion test but is still experiencing headaches. ... Kings G Marcus Thornton missed the game with a bruised right hand. He sustained the injury against Memphis. ... Eight different Mavericks scored in a 30-point first quarter. Nowitzki and Marion led with six apiece. ... Isaiah Thomas, who is headed to Houston for the Rising Stars Challenge during All-Star weekend, extended his free throw streak to 35 over seven games. He was 3 of 3.
Press; By SCHUYLER DIXON]
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