Nowitzki, Howard Lift Mavericks Past Kings
Dallas 127, Sacrameno 101
DALLAS, April 4 (Ticker) -- Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks are back on track.
Nowitzki scored 29 points and Josh Howard added 23 as the Mavericks recorded their biggest offensive output of the season in a 127-101 rout of the Sacramento Kings.
"I just think everyone was really aggressive on the offensive and defensive ends," Howard said. "The guys were just ready to play tonight."
After a tight first quarter, the Mavericks outscored the Kings, 37-19, in the second period to open a commanding 63-41 halftime lead.
"When they got into the open court, they pretty much did whatever they wanted to do," Sacramento coach Rick Adelman said. "That was probably our poorest defensive effort in a long time. Give them credit, they were very good, but we gave up a lot of layups and gave up offensive boards. We haven't had a game like this in a long, long time."
Howard, in this third game back since returning from a hamstring injury, scored 10 points and Nowitzki nine in second quarter, when the Mavs made 13-of-20 shots.
"Getting Josh back really helps us on both ends of the floor," Nowitzki said. "We missed his perimeter defense and on offense he's just so relentless getting to the basket. He's so good at slashing in there. He set the tone for us tonight."
"We were really sharing the ball," Howard said. "Everybody was hitting the offensive glass and we were finishing our plays."
Jason Terry added 18 points and rookie Josh Powell a season-high 12 for Dallas, which extended the lead to 101-76 after three quarters. The Mavs led by as many as 29 points in the fourth.
Dallas (56-19), which shot 61 percent (49-of-80) and held a 44-26 rebounding advantage, remained 2 1/2 games behind first-place San Antonio in the Southwest Division.
"It was a great job all the way around tonight," Terry said. "But I think more importantly, we have a game coming up against San Antonio where we really need to focus in on the execution part of our game. If we can come out of there with a win, then we'll be back on track."
"We were really aggressive and we got really good looks," Nowitzki said. "We played pretty decent defense and when we rebounded, we ran. In transition we usually get pretty good looks. We were in attack mode all game long."
Bonzi Wells scored 30 points and Ron Artest 19 for Sacramento (38-37), which remained two games in front of the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets for the Western Conference's final playoff spot.
"It's still in our control," Adelman said. "We're ahead of them. If we win games, they can't catch us. That's the bottom line. If we don't win games, then we open it up for them to get back in it."