Howard returns, leads Mavericks past Suns 102-101

DALLAS (AP) - Josh Howard looked sharp coming off a 13-game break to rehabilitate his surgically repaired left ankle, scoring 18 of his 20 points in the second half and leading the Dallas Mavericks to a 102-101 victory over the reeling Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night.

Howard missed the first five games of the season recovering from the surgery, then lasted just 2½ games. He scored 16 points during a stretch late in the third quarter and early in the fourth when Dallas went from being tied at 66 to leading 88-79.

Phoenix made three 3-pointers in the final 47.9 seconds to make things interesting all the way to the buzzer, but the Suns wound up losing for the fourth time in five games.

Dirk Nowitzki had 33 points and eight rebounds.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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