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Mavericks win 12th straight, beat Pacers

Jan 5, 2007 - 5:43 AM DALLAS (Ticker) -- Josh Howard and the Dallas Mavericks' depth won out.

Howard had 25 points and 11 rebounds as the Mavericks extended their winning streak to 12 games by grinding out a 100-91 triumph over the Indiana Pacers.

Devin Harris scored a career-high 24 points and superstar Dirk Nowitzki 20 for the Mavericks (26-7), who are in the midst of their second 12-game winning streak of the season.

Dallas, which is 26-3 since an 0-4 start, will look to extend its winning streak when it visits San Antonio on Friday in a matchup of the NBA's heavyweights.

The Mavericks were pushed in their latest win before they took control in the fourth quarter behind their defense. Indiana missed its final 10 shots and made just 5-of-21 attempts from the floor over the final 12 minutes.

"Once we figure out what's going on there on the court, we make our necessary adjustments," Mavericks coach Avery Johnson said. "Even though you guys have me labeled as a defensive coach, our offense is a big key in having balance and making sure we drive the ball."

"Our undoing was five turnovers for nine points in the fourth quarter," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. "They turned up the pressure on us and we needed to handle it better."

Howard, the reigning Western Conference Player of the Week, scored 17 points in the second half. The fourth-year forward made 9-of-23 shots from the field.

Harris and Nowitzki were the ones who carried the Mavs in the fourth quarter as they combined for 21 of their club's 28 points.

"Josh was being Josh again tonight," Johnson said. "He and Dirk were battling inside against a physical team tonight."

Harris, who scored 13 points in the fourth quarter, slashed to the basket with 8:17 remaining and converted a runner to put the Mavs ahead for good at 81-80.

"The driving was there all night long," Harris said. "They kind of forced us into jump shots in the first half. But everyone made a conscious effort to attack the basket, including me in the second half."

The Mavs were clinging to a 92-89 lead when Nowitzki fed Howard, who made a layup and drew a foul with 1:47 to go. He completed the three-point play, then Harris made two free throws 15 seconds later before sinking a jumper to push the advantage to double digits.

Al Harrington had 24 points and 11 rebounds, Jermaine O'Neal 20 and 16 and Jeff Foster 10 and 12 for the Pacers, who held a 73-72 lead entering the fourth quarter.

"They just out executed us in those last 12 minutes," Harrington said. "But to that point we were really battling with them. I wouldn't say they really took us out of anything but they disrupted what we were trying to do."

The Pacers also received a strong effort from Marquis Daniels, who was acquired from the Mavs in an offseason trade. He scored 10 points in 23 minutes off the bench.

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