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Nowitzki helps Mavs to 13th straight win

Feb 28, 2007 - 5:31 AM MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Superstar Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks once again have reached a lucky No. 13.

Nowitzki had 23 points and 14 rebounds as the Mavericks matched a season high with their 13th straight win, a 91-65 rout of the struggling Minnesota Timberwolves.

Dallas (48-9) also won 13 in a row from December 13-January 5.

Now the Mavs are one win shy of matching their franchise record set to begin the 2002-03 campaign. They will attempt to tie that mark at home Thursday against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

"We've got our eyes on the prize," Dallas coach Avery Johnson said. "There's only one team that's going to win it this year. We know it is just February and we have seen teams go on great winning streaks before, but at the same time we are not going to turn them back in either."

All-Star Josh Howard battled through a sore ankle to score 17 points for Dallas, which improved to a league-best 21-6 away from home this season.

Howard sprained his right ankle in Monday's win over Atlanta after landing on an opponent's shoe.

"It got stiff at the half," Howard said of his ankle. "They say just to keep working on it. I've got (Wednesday) to get some treatment and hopefully I'll be back full strength on Thursday."

The Mavericks also ran their record to 11-0 on the second end of back-to-backs.

"We've been winning a lot of games with team effort on both ends of the floor, sharing the ball and making plays," Nowitzki said.

In the second quarter, reserve Austin Croshere and Howard hit consecutive jumpers, sparking a 13-4 burst to close the first half for a 42-27 cushion at intermission.

"That second quarter really set the tone for us for the rest of the game," Johnson said. "Overall our guys competed at a high level. They were active. We got deflections and we got out and ran."

Minnesota, which has dropped four of its last five games, scored a season-worst eight points on 3-of-22 shooting in the second quarter.

"We missed some easy shots," Minnesota interim coach Randy Wittman said. "We missed some good shots."

The Wolves also managed just 12 points in the final period.

Kevin Garnett collected 15 points and 13 rebounds and Ricky Davis also scored 15 for the Timberwolves, who shot a franchise-low 29 percent (24-of-81) from the floor.

"We didn't adjust to anything," Timberwolves forward Mark Blount said. "We stayed in one mode all night, and they were the attackers and we didn't attack."

"I think we just got beat," Minnesota guard Marko Jaric. "Mentally, we need to find ourselves if we're going to go out and beat someone else."

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