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Nowitzki, Howard help hot Mavs easily handle Sonics

DALLAS (AP) -- The Dallas Mavericks came out of the halftime
break determined to get some easier shots on offense and to play
better defense on Seattle guard Ray Allen.

They accomplished both objectives to stretch their winning
streak to 11 games.

Dirk Nowitzki had 31 points and a season-high 15 rebounds, and
Josh Howard added 21 points and nine rebounds in the Mavericks'
112-88 victory against the SuperSonics on Tuesday night.

Jason Terry added 18 points and Devin Harris scored 16 for the
Mavericks, whose season-best winning streak is 12 games from Nov.
9-Dec. 1.

Tied at halftime, the Mavericks took a 66-57 lead by opening the
third quarter on an 11-2 run, with Harris accounting for the last
six points of the spurt on drives and free throws.

"We didn't want to settle for jumpers," Harris said. "We
wanted to attack the rim and get some easy baskets."

Dallas held a 58-30 rebounding edge, 21-8 on the offensive
boards, and scored 34 second-chance points to nine for Seattle.

"Guys just came out and hit the glass hard on both ends of the
court," Howard said.

Harris and teammate Greg Buckner were assigned to improve the
second-half defense on Allen, who had 19 of his 27 points in the
first half, 18 in the second quarter.

Allen went 3-for-9 in the second half.

"We wanted to mix it up against him," Harris said. "We know
where he likes to shoot and we wanted to make it tougher on him."

Nowitzki, back in the lineup after sitting out the previous game
due to a high fever from a sinus infection, had his first 30-point
game since scoring 31 in a win over San Antonio on Nov. 24.

On Monday, Nowitzki got plenty of rest and spent time with his
parents, visiting from their native Germany.

"Yesterday, I was able to sleep it off and I got some home
cooking," said Nowitzki, who missed his first game of the season
in Sunday night's 89-85 victory at Denver. "I felt a lot better
coming in today."

Nowitzki has also been hampered recently by a sprained ankle.

"Dirk is a warrior," Dallas coach Avery Johnson said. "He
plays injured and came back strong tonight."

Earl Watson added 15 points for the Sonics, who've lost nine of
their last 12 and nine in a row on the road.

Dallas took a 78-72 advantage into the final quarter and put the
game away by starting the fourth quarter with a 10-1 run capped by
Buckner's 3-pointer with 8:42 remaining for an 88-73 lead.

"Whatever we had in the first half -- the togetherness and the
toughness -- we didn't have in the second half," Seattle coach Bob
Hill said.

Dallas began the game with a 25-9 run and the Mavericks were in
front after the first quarter, 33-22.

But the Sonics responded with a 34-12 spurt that bridged the
first and second quarters to go ahead by as many as six points.

Dallas finished the second quarter with an 11-5 run to draw even
at 55.

Allen had a hot second quarter, hitting all four of his
3-pointers. From there, the Mavericks clamped down on him.

"They play together and always seem to be in the right
places," Allen said. "The accountability is there defensively. We
need to see how they do that and try to emulate it."

Game notes
Dallas set a season high for rebounds. ... The Sonics
dropped their eighth straight to the Mavericks. ... Earlier in the
day Howard won his second straight Western Conference Player of the
Week award, becoming the first Maverick to win the award
back-to-back. ... The Mavericks have limited their last 10
opponents to less than 100 points. ... Dallas F Jerry Stackhouse
missed his sixth straight game with a sprained left ankle.
Stackhouse will practice Wednesday could be available for Thursday
night's home game against Indiana. ... Dallas scored 30 or more
points in the first quarter for the 15th time this season. ...
Nowitzki had led the Mavericks in scoring only once in his previous
six games after doing so 17 times in the first 21 games.

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