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Dampier, Mavericks beat Sonics; Nowitzki hurt

Dec 21, 2006 - 7:56 AM SEATTLE (Ticker) -- Erick Dampier would not let the injury bug affect the Dallas Mavericks' flow.

Dampier had season highs of 22 points and 16 rebounds and Jason Terry scored 17 points as the Mavericks captured their fifth consecutive win with a 103-95 victory over the Seattle SuperSonics.

Dallas superstar Dirk Nowitzki left the game in the first quarter after twisting his left ankle when Seattle's Chris Wilcox stepped on his foot with 2:05 remaining. X-rays were negative, but he did not return and will be evaluated on Thursday morning.

"I didn't see Dirk go down but I am just coming off an ankle sprain myself," Mavericks coach Avery Johnson said. "It was a bad little series right there."

"(Nowitzki) carries the team on his back but when he went down we had other people who stepped up and gave us a win," Dampier said.

The Sonics also suffered a huge loss when second-leading scorer Rashard Lewis left in the opening quarter with an injury to the tendon in his right hand. X-rays also were negative.

Dampier's five points during a 12-0 burst in the third quarter helped the Mavericks tie the game at 64-64 with 4:52 remaining.

"You have got to look at the job Erick did in the second half," Terry said. "He really controlled the paint and was big for us. He got defensive rebounds and was able to get it out for us and we got some transition baskets and got to the free-throw line."

Dampier shot 7-of-11 from the floor and made 8-of-9 free throws. He also grabbed a season-best nine offensive rebounds.

"We were getting the ball in transition and getting easy layups," Dampier said. "I just try to get myself in position to get rebounds. If I can't get the rebound I just try to get my hand on it and tap it out to one of my teammates. They would get some and take it back up and score."

In the fourth period, Seattle's Earl Watson drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 6:13 left to tie the game at 85-85.

However, the Mavericks immediately responded with a 10-0 surge capped by Josh Howard's floater in the lane with three minutes left.

Howard scored 15 points and Devin Harris chipped in 13 for the Mavericks, who shot 47 percent (35-of-73) from the floor but made just 4-of-14 3-pointers.

Luke Ridnour had 21 points and nine assists and Wilcox added 18 points and nine rebounds for Seattle, which shot 51 percent (42-of-82).

Since winning three game in a row, the SuperSonics are now riding a season-worst six-game losing streak.

"When it happens so much (losing) it can only get better," Watson said. "That's the kind of attitude that you have to have - that it can get better."

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