Howard scores 47 to lead Mavs past Jazz

DALLAS, TX -- Josh Howard scored a career-high 47 points and Erick Dampier provided a season-high 21 points -- and the Dallas Mavericks needed every bit of it to beat Deron Williams and the Utah Jazz 125-117 Saturday night.

Devin Harris added a career-high 12 assists to help the Mavericks end skids of two straight losses, three of four and six of nine.

Williams scored a career-high 41 points, 32 coming in the second half. His scoring and leadership carried Utah from 16 down in the third quarter to within 112-110 with 3:41 left.

But the Mavericks regained control on a basket by Dirk Nowitzki, then Utah's Carlos Boozer fouled out on Dallas' next possession and things weren't tight again.

Utah shot 60.5 percent for the game and an incredible 14-of-17 (82.4 percent) in the third quarter, yet the Jazz lost its third straight.

Dallas shot 59.7 percent, but the Mavericks' defensive problems continued as they allowed a 30-point quarter for the 11th time in 12 games. They gave up two, actually, with Utah going for 34 and 35 in the second half.

Enjoying all the action courtside were roughly 125 military personnel from Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio and a National Guard unit from Fort Worth who recently returned from a year of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan as part of the fourth annual "Seats for Soldiers," a fan-started initiative in which front-row season ticket-holders donate their spots for one night. The troops were recognized between the first two quarters and received a standing ovation to the tune of "Proud To Be An American."

Howard, an All-Star last year, topped his previous career high of 30 midway through the third quarter and just kept going. He came up big in the final minutes, too, nailing a high-arching 22-footer, then feeding Jason Terry for a fast-break dunk that made it 123-113, back-to-back baskets that sealed the victory.

His 47 points were the sixth-most in team history, six off Nowitzki's record.

Howard was 14-of-19, including 4-of-5 on 3-pointers. He also had 10 rebounds.

Dampier made 7-of-8 shots, had five rebounds and a pair of blocks. He hadn't scored more than eight points in a game all year, but was on from the start, scoring six of Dallas' first 11 points. Since he's joined the Mavs, they are 51-9 when he scores 10 or more points.

With Howard and Dampier rolling, Nowitzki sat back. He didn't score until 5 minutes into the second quarter and finished with 16.

Williams, who grew up in a Dallas suburb, had set his career high of 35 earlier this season. He was 13-of-20, 3-of-4 on 3-pointers and 12-of-13 from the foul line. He also had seven assists.

Boozer was 11-of-15 for 24 points with five rebounds and four assists. Andrei Kirilenko had 10 points and eight assists, Matt Harpring scored 11 points and Memet Okur had 10.

Utah was coming off a tough loss in San Antonio the previous night and it showed. The Jazz's only lead was 7-5; they allowed a 10-0 run after that.

Two oddities: The Jazz shot 67.5 percent in the first quarter, yet came out trailing by five, and the superb shooting in the third quarter only trimmed two points off the lead.


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