Mavericks Notch Eighth Straight Victory
Dallas 103, Utah 89
DALLAS, Jan. 28 (Ticker) -- Back among the comforts of home, the last thing the Dallas Mavericks did was relax.
Josh Howard ended a slump with 24 points as the hot-shooting Mavericks rolled to their season-high eighth straight win, a 103-89 victory over the Utah Jazz.
"Our game plan was to win the points in the paint and we did that," said guard Jason Terry, who scored 18 points. "Utah's a good team. They're physical, they're aggressive, but we stood our ground tonight."
"They executed, they got on top of the basket," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "If you made a mistake defensively, they took care of it. They made us turn the ball over if we messed up our spacing on the floor. They used us on the pin down. Guys couldn't get up and get over screens. It was kind of a revealing experience for our players. You see those things and talk about those things, but we aren't able to get to that point where we can stop that sort of thing."
Dallas was playing at home for the first time since January 16. It just completed a 5-0 road trip on which it won by an average of nearly 14 points and asserted itself as one of the best teams in the NBA. During the winning streak, the Mavericks have allowed no more than 97 points.
"We're playing well together, the chemistry is there," Terry said. "We're very focused. We're trying to get better on defense every night. You can see the effort. It's fun. We're having a lot of fun out there playing basketball."
"They are playing a lot like playoff basketball now because they execute," Sloan said. "They know each posession what they are going to do. They know what they are doing defensively and it's a veteran team. They've got eight, nine guys that are very, very good and they know how to do things."
It would have been easy for the Mavericks to let up against the Jazz, who came in having lost five of their last seven games. But they trailed for just 19 seconds and controlled the entire game after going on a 13-2 run in the first quarter.
"It was a real important game after the long (road) stretch," Howard said. "It was the perfect setup game for them to come in here and knock us off. We had a great morning session going over their plays and we followed the game plan."
Utah cut the deficit to four points twice in the second quarter and to six in the third period. But reserve Keith Van Horn opened the final period with consecutive 3-pointers for a 79-65 lead, and Dallas led by at least eight points thereafter.
"It starts with the coach," Mavericks swingman Adrian Griffin said. "He gets us ready. We're very prepared. You look at our second unit, even our third unit. Guys come in and they are play with energy. We're so deep. Everybody is real excited about this team."
Howard provided a spark, making 8-of-13 shots and 8-of-13 free throws as he eclipsed 20 points for the first time since January 16. He averaged less than 12 points during the road trip.
"A lot of my shots were in the break, just getting out running," Howard said. "I just fed off my defensive end."
Van Horn scored 15 points and fellow reserve Jerry Stackhouse added 11 for the Mavericks, who made 7-of-13 3-pointers.
Texas native Devin Brown scored 18 points off the bench and Andrei Kirilenko added 17 and 10 rebounds for the Jazz, who have lost six straight visits to the American Airlines Center.