Harris leads unstoppable Mavs to 12th straight victory

DALLAS (AP) -- Devin Harris didn't even think about taking
jumpers. The skinny guard kept driving to the basket -- and scoring.

With Jason Terry struggling, that was exactly what the Dallas
Mavericks needed Thursday night to beat the Indiana Pacers 100-91
and extend the NBA's longest winning streak to 12 games.

Harris scored 13 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter -- when
he made all four of his shots on layups. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound
guard scored on three straight drives in a 92-second span to put
the Mavs ahead for good.

"We really pushed the ball in transition to get some easy
baskets and I was able to finish," Harris said. "We mixed it up
and got some easy baskets."

Terry had only one point and three turnovers while playing 19
minutes, a season low and 15 below his average. That's because
coach Avery Johnson stuck with Harris.

"He saw I wasn't being aggressive, so he changed it and it
worked," said Terry, who was 0-for-4 shooting.

Added Harris: "Nobody has a perfect game. That's what's good
about our team. We pick each other up when it's needed."

It is the second 12-game winning streak this season for the
Mavericks (26-7), who have the NBA's best record. The first dozen
victories in a row came after the defending Western Conference
champions started the season 0-4 for the first time in team

Dallas is the 36th team in NBA history with two double-digit winning streaks in the same season. The only team to accomplish it faster in a season was the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers, who had a pair of 11-game winning streaks in the first 31 games.

Dallas had led only briefly twice before Harris had his three
straight scoring drives.

Harris' first layup with nine minutes left got the Mavericks
within 80-79. After Erick Dampier blocked a shot, Terry got the
rebound and passed to Harris for a fast-break drive that put the
Mavericks ahead to stay. After Indiana missed two more shots,
Harris was fouled on another drive and hit two free throws for an
83-80 lead.

And Harris wasn't finished.

He drove for another layup with five minutes left to extend the
lead to 90-85. After Al Harrington's turnover in the final minute,
Harris punctuated his night with another breakaway, making the
layup while being fouled and then adding the free throw to make it

"They just out-executed us in those last 12 minutes," said
Harrington, who had 24 points and 11 rebounds.

Josh Howard, who has won back-to-back NBA player of the week
awards, had 25 points and 11 rebounds to lead Dallas. Dirk
Nowitzki, still bothered by sinus problems that forced him to miss
a game Sunday, had 20 points in 36 minutes. Devean George had 13
points and four steals.

It was a career high in points for Harris in the regular season.
He had a 30-point game in the playoffs last season.

Jermaine O'Neal had 20 points and a season-high 16 rebounds for
the Pacers, who played their first game in 2007 after being off
since a home loss to Charlotte on Saturday night. Jeff Foster had
10 points and 12 rebounds.

"Our undoing was five turnovers for nine points in the fourth
quarter. They turned up the pressure on us and we needed to handle
it better," coach Rick Carlisle said. "We showed that we can
certainly play with this caliber of team, but to win you've got to
be a little more solid in some areas."

Jerry Stackhouse, back after missing six games with a sprained
left ankle, gave the Mavs their first lead when his 20-footer from
the top of the key made it 37-36 with five minutes left in the
first half.

Stephen Jackson hit a short turnaround jumper at the other end,
but Stackhouse promptly made a 9-footer. Harrington then had a bad
pass that Harris turned into a fast-break layup and a 41-38 lead,
the largest for Dallas before halftime.

The Mavericks trailed by as many as nine points in the first
quarter and finished with only 19. That matched their second-lowest
scoring first quarter this season, but they were down by only five
because of consecutive baskets by Anthony Johnson.

Johnson was traded from the Pacers to the Mavs last summer in a
deal that sent veteran swingman Darrell Armstrong and third-year
player Marquis Daniels to Indiana.

When Daniels made his first appearance in the game with 4
minutes left in the first quarter, he received a nice ovation and
then guarded Howard, his buddy. Daniels finished with 10 points.

Game notes
Dallas plays Friday night at San Antonio. The Mavericks,
with a three-game lead over the Spurs in the Southwest Division,
are 7-0 in the second game of back-to-backs this season. ... The
Mavs have held 11 straight opponents under 100 points. ... Indiana
had won three straight road games.