108 - 72 Final
  for this game

Howard, Mavericks thrash Lakers in return to Staples Center

Mar 12, 2007 - 3:59 AM LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- Josh Howard and the Dallas Mavericks came out of the Staples Center with a better result this time.

Howard scored 24 points and Dirk Nowitzki added 19 as the Mavericks exacted a measure of revenge on the Los Angeles Lakers with a thorough 108-72 thrashing, extending their franchise-record winning streak to 17 games.

Having already clinched a playoff berth, Dallas (52-9) matched Phoenix for the longest winning streak this season - and the seventh-longest in NBA history.

However, one of the Mavericks' rare defeats came the last time they played the Lakers here. On January 7, Dallas was dealt a 101-98 loss, blowing a nine-point lead and falling victim to a late 3-pointer by Sasha Vujacic.

The Mavericks have regrouped nicely by winning 24 of 25 games since, losing only at Chicago on January 25. On Sunday, they made sure the Lakers did not snap another mammoth winning streak.

An All-Star for the first time this campaign, Howard continued his stellar play, shooting 7-of-16 from the field - including 3-of-3 from the arc.

Nowitzki was 6-of-13 from the floor and 7-of-7 from the free-throw line for Dallas, which led by at least 20 points the entire second half.

Kobe Bryant scored 25 points for Los Angeles, which lost its sixth straight game, matching its season-high skid from February 8-21 - the longest of coach Phil Jackson's illustrious career.

The Lakers have been ravaged by injuries, including those to forwards Lamar Odom (shoulder), Luke Walton (ankle) and Rony Turiaf (back).