Dirk Nowitzki scored 32 points and the Dallas Mavericks concluded the regular season with their fourth straight victory by posting a 121-89 triumph over the visiting New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday.
J.J. Barea added 14 points and eight assists, Jason Terry scored 13 points and Jason Kidd had 12 and eight assists for Dallas (57-25), which stayed put as the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference playoffs when the Los Angeles Lakers held off the Sacramento Kings in overtime later Wednesday night. The Mavs will play No. 6 Portland in the first round, beginning in Dallas.
Jarrett Jack scored 22 points for New Orleans (46-36). The Hornets will be the seventh seed in the West and face the No. 2 Lakers, thanks to Memphis' loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday.
Dallas trailed 61-58 at halftime before dominating the second half, shooting 63.6 percent from the field and holding New Orleans to just 28 second-half points.
The Mavericks began the half with a 12-2 surge to take a seven-point lead. The Hornets were within 76-70 after Emeka Okafor’s basket with 3:15 left in the third quarter before Kidd hit a 3-pointer to start the sequence in which Dallas outscored New Orleans 45-19 over the final 14-plus minutes.
The Mavericks had 13 3-pointers, including four by Kidd.
Marco Belinelli added 14 points for the Hornets, who shot just 29.7 percent in the second half.