|Josh Howard scores 32 to help Mavericks overcome life without Nowitzki|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 25 March 2008 22:29|
Howard scored 32 points, Jerry Stackhouse had 20, Erick Dampier had 19 points and 17 rebounds and Jason Kidd neared a triple-double, lifting the Mavericks past the Los Angeles Clippers 103-90 on Tuesday night.
With Nowitzki out indefinitely with a sprained ankle and knee, Howard had a simple game plan to pick up the slack for the Mavericks' leading scorer and rebounder.
``If everyone goes up four or five points, that'll cover it,'' Howard said.
In the third quarter, Dallas was up only 60-58 and in need of a Nowitzki-like surge. Howard provided it, scoring 20 of the team's next 26 points for a 16-point lead early in the fourth quarter.
The win kept Dallas (45-26) in the seventh spot in the West, two games ahead of Golden State and 2 1/2 ahead of Denver. The Mavericks are headed on the road for games against those two teams, and will play five of their next six against teams in the playoff chase.
``We're up to the challenge,'' Stackhouse said. ``We don't have to win out, but we all have to pick it up a little.''
In other NBA games, it was: New Orleans 114, Indiana 106; San Antonio 107, Orlando 97; Chicago 103, Atlanta 94; Utah 128, Charlotte 106; and Portland 102, Washington 82.
At Dallas, Howard struggled early, going 2-of-11 and getting to the line only once in the first half. Dampier stepped in and got 12 points and 12 rebounds over the first two quarters.
``Damp obviously was very inspired,'' coach Avery Johnson said. ``We need him to do what he did tonight, not necessarily the numbers but being aggressive going to the basket.''
Howard finished 8-of-22, made all 15 of his free throws, had seven rebounds and four steals, while Kidd had 10 points, eight assists and six rebounds.
Corey Maggette had 21 points for the Clippers, who lost their eighth straight.
``We did a good job as long as we could,'' coach Mike Dunleavy said. ``I thought we played hard. We didn't give up. We didn't bow out.''
Hornets 114, Pacers 106
At Indianapolis, David West had 35 points and 16 rebounds, and New Orleans beat the Pacers in their first game since CEO Donnie Walsh announced he was leaving the team at the end of the season.
Chris Paul had 31 points and 14 assists as the Hornets won their fourth straight to maintain the best record (48-21) in the Western Conference.
Danny Granger led Indiana with 26 points and nine rebounds.
Spurs 107, Magic 97
At Orlando, Fla., Manu Ginobili scored 28 points and Michael Finley added 24 as the Spurs won their fourth straight.
Tim Duncan had 19 points and 15 rebounds for San Antonio.
Bulls 103, Hawks 94
At Chicago, Drew Gooden scored a season-high 31 points and matched a season best with 16 rebounds as the Bulls held on in the fourth quarter.
Josh Childress scored 22, including eight in the final quarter, to lead Atlanta.
Jazz 128, Bobcats 106
Carlos Boozer had 28 points and 13 rebounds, and Deron Williams added 14 points and 15 assists to lead host Utah.
Jason Richardson scored 26 points and Gerald Wallace added 21 for the Bobcats, who lost their sixth straight road game.
Trail Blazers 102, Wizards 82
At Portland, Ore., Martell Webster had 23 points, Travis Outlaw added 20 and the Trail Blazers overcame the loss of top scorer Brandon Roy.
Caron Butler had 19 to lead Washington.