DALLAS, Dec. 18 (Ticker) -- Josh Howard
helped the Dallas Mavericks
return to form at the American Airlines Center.
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Howard scored eight of his 13 points in the first quarter and
grabbed nine rebounds as the Mavericks snapped a three-game home
losing streak with a 90-68 rout of the Atlanta Hawks, who have
lost five in a row.
The best home team in the league last season, when it was a
franchise-best 36-5, Dallas was a mediocre 7-6 this season after
losing to Golden State on Tuesday. But the Mavericks bounced
back in a big way against the Hawks.
"The win came just in time because we definately didn't want to
lose another one at home," Mavericks guard Jason Terry
weren't playing well."
Howard and Erick Dampier
combined to score 13 points in a
game-opening 16-3 run and Atlanta, which was playing its fifth
game in eight days, never threatened thereafter.
"We had to jump on those guys and run them up and down," Howard
said. "They've been playing a lot of games the last couple of
weeks and we wanted to jump on them."
Dallas held Atlanta to 24 percent (5-of-21) shooting in the
first quarter, which rookie Devin Harris
capped with a
thunderous dunk over Peja Drobnjak
, giving the Mavs a 27-12
"We went with the rookie because he has been our best point
guard (in practice)," Dallas coach Don Nelson said. "We thought
we would reward him with an opportunity tonight and he did very
, who missed most of the first quarter after
hitting Terry's head with his mouth when Jason Collier
him, scored 11 of his 15 points in the second quarter to lift
Dallas to a 51-28 advantage at the break.
Nowitzki had bridge work knocked out on the hit and was forced
to play the second quarter without it.
"I was lucky that my dentist was at the game," Nowitzki said.
"He put it back in at halftime. It was a hard blow. I reached up
with my tongue and felt it was loose right away."
The Hawks, who never got closer than 20 points in the second
half, shot 37 percent (30-of-81) and were held to season lows in
points for a game and half.
"We just couldn't make shots, but our defense was solid," Hawks
coach Mike Woodson said. "Offensively, I have to help us get
better because we have struggled."
Atlanta's 68 points also match a franchise low for a Dallas
"We needed a game where we came out defensively and played the
way we practice," said Terry, who scored 12 points in his first
start of the season. "We did that tonight."
scored 13 points in his first game in Dallas
since being traded to Atlanta in the offseason for Terry.
"It was nice to see a lot of people I hadn't seen in a while,
but I wish the outcome had been better," Walker said. "We've
got to start playing better basketball. We're better than the
way we played tonight."
The lone bright spot for the Hawks was the play of rookie
who had nine points, seven rebounds and blocked a
season-high 10 shots.
"We did well on defense," said Smith, whose 10 blocks were the
most in the NBA this season. "I was just doing my part. I came
over from the weak side and got a couple of blocks. We need more
"I watched that kid all summer when I was in Atlanta and the
kid's just tremendously athletic," Terry said. "If he can just
continue to work on his game, he's going to be a dominant factor
in this league."