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Howard, Mavericks set team-record home winning streak

Feb 10, 2007 - 6:29 AM DALLAS (Ticker) -- After being named to his first All-Star team, Josh Howard celebrated by helping the Dallas Mavericks extend their impressive streak.

Howard scored 22 points and Jason Terry added 18 as the Mavericks set a franchise record with their 17th straight home win, using numerous runs en route to an easy 95-74 victory over the Houston Rockets.

Holding the best record in the NBA, Dallas (41-9) continued to dominate at the American Airlines Center, surpassing a previous franchise mark set from January 3-March 3, 2006. The Mavericks' last home loss came to Detroit on December 7.

"It sounds good. I think we just take it as what it is," Dallas guard Jerry Stackhouse said. "We know that through those 17 games, it hasn't always been the prettiest, but at the same time, we grind it out and we've won tough games.

"It's a testament to what we are about. Coming in every day working and trying to stay focused. We've been doing a good job of that on the road and a heck of a job doing it at home.

Selected to play in the midseason showcase as an injury replacement, the 6-7 Howard was rewarded for his role as one of the driving forces behind surging Dallas, averaging career highs of 19.6 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists.

"I'm an All-Star. I'm one of the elite," Howard said. "I've got to work this hard and to be recognized is cool. We'll find out how much time I play in the All-Star game. I'm here because the commissioner gave me the opportunity. The coaches didn't, some of the fans did. It's pretty cool to be honored regardless of how it happened."

On Friday, he sparked Dallas throughout, shooting 9-of-15 from the field, nailing both of his 3-pointers. It was an impressive effort by Howard, who capped his performance with an emphatic dunk over Houston guard John Lucas III to give Dallas its largest lead, 85-56, with 6:38 left.

Trailing by six points with 8:55 left before halftime, the Mavericks outscored the Rockets, 28-11, over a 10-minute span bridging the second and third quarters. Howard, who along with Terry scored seven points in the run, capped the spurt with a jumper to make it 50-39 just two minutes into the third.

Dallas poured it on in the third period, using a 16-0 run to take a 68-48 lead with 2:18 left in the stanza. Stackhouse scored 10 of the 16 points in the run that put the game away for good.

"I think we just read, got some stops, that's when we are at our best," Stackhouse said. "We were able to push the ball and make plays and everybody got into a little rhythm. That really was the difference."

Tracy McGrady scored 20 points for the Rockets, who shot 33 percent (26-of-78) to absorb just their second defeat in their last seven road contests - both coming against the Mavericks.

"They certainly outclassed us in the second half," Houston coach Jeff Van Gundy said. "They beat us up. Obviously, they defended us well and turned those into transition baskets. They dominated us on the boards."

In the last meeting between the squads, Dallas held off Houston, 109-96, at home on January 16. McGrady scored a season-high 45 points, but Nowitzki and Howard combined for 58. On Friday, it was easier for the Mavericks, who outscored the Rockets, 52-34, after halftime and held a 55-40 advantage on the boards for the game.

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