Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 4)

Series starts 11/2

Game 1: Wednesday, November 2nd
Game 2: Saturday, January 28th
Game 3: Saturday, March 11th
Game 4: Sunday, April 16th

Jazz 89

(21-23, 11-12 away)

Mavericks 103

(34-10, 16-4 home)

Coverage: FSSW

8:00 PM ET, January 28, 2006

American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX

1 2 3 4 T
UTAH 18 24 23 2489
DAL 25 26 22 30103

Top Performers

Utah: A. Kirilenko 17 Pts, 10 Reb, 1 Ast, 3 Stl, 1 Blk

Dallas: D. Nowitzki 21 Pts, 5 Reb, 1 Stl, 2 Blk

Howard helps Mavs to season-high eighth straight win

DALLAS (AP) -- Coming home from a 5-0 West Coast road trip, Dallas Mavericks coach Avery Johnson feared his club might turn complacent against the struggling Utah Jazz.

Fastest to 50 Career Wins
Avery Johnson 50-12
Red Auerbach 50-13
Al Cervi 50-13
Paul Westphal 50-15
3 coaches at ... 50-17

That's what it has come to for the Mavericks: finding things to worry about.

Dirk Nowitzki shook off a twisted ankle to score 21 points and Josh Howard scored 24, leading Dallas past Utah 103-89 Saturday night to up its winning streak to a season-best eight in a row.

"Defensively we're really working well with each other," Nowitzki said. "We trust in Avery's system. We're really contesting shots. We've got to keep it going."

The Mavericks have won 11 of 12, with the only loss coming by two points in overtime on the road. The streak has taken them into a tie with the San Antonio Spurs for the best record in the Western Conference (34-10), and the way they're doing it is the most impressive part.

Dallas has kept its last eight foes under 100 points, matching a streak the club last accomplished early in the 2002-03 season that ended with a trip to the Western Conference finals. The Mavericks also have won five of their last seven by at least 14 points, something they were rarely doing earlier this season.

"A lot of people still don't think we play great defense," Howard said. "We let that go in one ear and out the other."

Utah lost its second straight and fourth in five games. At 21-23, the Jazz are two games below .500 for the first time since Dec. 31.

Utah's only lead was 8-6. The Mavs were up by seven soon after and were hardly challenged the rest of the game. Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko even said his team "stopped playing" after they got within six points late in the third quarter.

"We felt six points was good," he said.

The bigger scare for Dallas was seeing Nowitzki doubled over in pain after getting his feet tangled with Utah's Keith McLeod late in the first quarter. He limped off the court and went to the locker room, but returned midway through the second.

"It was a freak play," Nowitzki said. "He crossed in front of me and I stepped on his foot. I walked it off, got it retaped and it felt great."

Nowitzki ended up taking only eight shots, but he made six. He also made all eight of his foul shots.

Jason Terry scored 18 for Dallas, including a pair of early 3-pointers that helped stoke the crowd. Keith Van Horn scored 15, with three 3-pointers, and Jerry Stackhouse added 11 points.

Marquis Daniels returned after missing 11 games (strained neck, family emergency) and had five points, three rebounds, two assists and a steal in 13 minutes.

The Mavericks outscored the Jazz 12-0 in the paint in the first quarter and kept up the domination inside, finishing with a 44-18 advantage in that category. The easy points inside contributed to their 55 shooting percentage. Staying outside contributed to the Jazz shooting 39 percent.

"We were taking outside shots, but we couldn't make them and it was tough getting offensive rebounds," said Mehmet Okur, who scored 16 points. "They're really rolling right now. They're a better defensive team and they play unselfish basketball."

Devin Brown came off the bench to lead the Jazz with 18 points. Kirilenko had 17 points and 10 rebounds and Gordon Giricek, who missed the last game with an injury, scored 15, including a 30-footer to beat the shot clock midway through the fourth quarter.

Utah rookie Deron Williams, who grew up in a Dallas suburb, stripped Van Horn on a breakaway layup soon after entering the game in the first quarter and scored seven points.

Game notes

This was the second game of the first-ever NHL-NBA doubleheader in Dallas. Although the hockey game ran late, arena workers had the conversion done with plenty of time to spare. ... Dallas G Devin Harris was inactive for a second straight game because of a sprained right shoulder. ... Utah dressed only 10 players. Among its inactives were two Dallas-area natives, Greg Ostertag (suspended) and C.J. Miles (in the Developmental League), neither of whom were with the team.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 89 103
FGM-FGA 27-69 (.391) 36-65 (.554)
3PM-3PA 5-15 (.333) 7-13 (.538)
FTM-FTA 30-38 (.789) 24-32 (.750)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 16-33 10-33
Assists 15 17
Turnovers 17 15
Steals 6 9
Blocks 4 7
Fast Break Points 11 22
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 27 (0/0) 26 (1/0)
Largest Lead 2 18

Top Performers

Andrei Kirilenko Kirilenko
Points: 17
Reb: 10
Ast: 1
Stl: 3
Blk: 1
Dirk Nowitzki Nowitzki
Points: 21
Reb: 5
Ast: 0
Stl: 1
Blk: 2