Josh Howard finally gets shot at Mavs

Josh Howard will finally get to face his old club since the big trade a year ago. Howard tore his ACL just a few games into his tenure with the Washington Wizards. He returned Dec. 18, had discomfort in his knee and came back again Feb. 13.

He's played just 12 games this season and Saturday's game against the Dallas Mavericks will be his first against the Mavs.

It wasn't long ago that Howard was a fan favorite in Dallas and seemed the perfect complement to the perimeter-shooting Dirk Nowitzki. But then Howard went haywire, his star faded and after two years of coddling by owner Mark Cuban, the decision to deal Howard was finally made last season.

The Mavs received Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood and DeShawn Stevenson.

"I always said he was a nice complement to me," Nowitzki said. "He did all the things I wasn’t doing great, he was great at -- the slashing, putting the ball on the deck, getting to the line, the offensive rebounding he was phenomenal, just a great nose for the ball. I thought we complemented each other really well there when we were all on the same page."

The Mavs then move onto a Sunday evening game at the Toronto Raptors before wrapping up the three-game trip Tuesday night against the improved Philadelphia 76ers. On paper, it would seem a good opportunity for the Mavs to extend their four-game win streak to seven.

"On paper in this league doesn’t work," Nowitzki said. "Washington played us all the way down to the wire. Toronto beat us here when I was hurt so we definitely owe them one. Philly is very good at home. They even beat San Antonio at home before the [All-Star] break. Every game is a challenge in itself and we’ve got to be up for it. We’ve got the veterans to do it. We understand what time it is and we want to make this push towards the playoffs, so there shouldn’t be any letdowns here."