NEW ORLEANS -- The Dallas Mavericks can finally shave off those funky-looking beards.
On a day when Dirk Nowitzki scored his 25,000th career point, the Mavs reached the .500 mark Sunday afternoon by defeating the New Orleans Hornets, 107-89, at New Orleans Arena.
The victory enabled the Mavs to even their record at 40-40 with two games left. It also is the first time the Mavs have been .500 since they were 11-11 way back on Dec. 12 -- over four months ago.
Back in early February, the Mavs vowed not to shave their beards until they reached the .500 plateau. The Mavs entered Sunday's game one game shy of reaching the .500 mark for the fourth time since the bearded pledge.
On the fourth try, mission accomplished.
Nowitzki gave his teammates a salute -- and his teammates gave him a standing ovation -- when he reached the 25,000-point barrier on an 18-footer with 6:44 remaining in the first half. Vince Carter proceeded to hug Nowitzki during the ensuing deadball, and the other players and coaches followed suit when timeout was called with 5:52 left before halftime.
Nowitzki finished with 19 points (7-of-14 shots) and six rebounds, Shawn Marion collected 21 points and seven rebounds, Brandan Wright had 16 points and three stitches on his left cheek, Vince Carter poured in 16 points, and Chris Kaman added 11 points and seven boards in 22 minutes.
Ryan Anderson paced the Hornets (27-54) with 20 points.
Dallas led 33-19 after the first period, 62-40 at the half and 81-67 going into the fourth period.
The Mavs play host to the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday, and then finish their season at home on Wednesday against the Hornets.
-- Dwain Price
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