for this game

Stackhouse, Howard step in Nowitzki's absence

Apr 4, 2007 - 7:02 AM SACRAMENTO, California (Ticker) -- With the Dallas Mavericks protecting a slim lead with just 20 seconds left, Jerry Stackhouse went right at Sacramento's Ron Artest.

Stackhouse broke down Artest, one of the league's best defenders, with a cross-over and hit a fadeaway jumper to seal a 97-93 victory over the Sacramento Kings.

Stackhouse's shot was just one of many the Mavericks needed him to make. He scored 23 points off the bench, helping offset the absence of star forward Dirk Nowitzki, who missed the game due to food poisoning.

"He's a tough defender," said Stackhouse of Artest. "I just made a move and was able to get a little bit of space and get the shot off. Fortunately for me and my team, it went down. It's not a shot you want to live by but we'll take it tonight." Josh Howard scored 29 points and Jason Terry added 27 as the Mavericks swept the season series, winning for the 13th time in 16 games against the Kings.

Artest scored 25 points and grabbed 10 rebound for Sacramento, which has lost six of nine at home to the Mavericks.

Kevin Martin added 17 for the Kings, who battled throughout, but Howard, Terry and Stackhouse were able to hold them off.

"Josh, Stackhouse, and Jet (Jason Terry) carried us offensively," coach Avery Johnson said.

"(Stackhouse) been through it all," Martin said. "He's like a starter coming off the bench. If they want to go to him at the end, I'm sure they feel pretty confident."

Trailing, 70-69, to start the fourth, Dallas went on an 8-0 run and Sacramento never fully recovered.

"I thought our team played hard tonight," Kings coach Eric Mussleman said. "Especially when you look at the fact that we're playing a team - even though they were without Dirk - that has won 62 games. ... If you would have told us we would shoot below 40 percent, I wouldn't have thought it would be a four-point game and come down to the last three and a half minutes."

Dallas rebounded from its worst loss of the season, dropping a 126-104 decision to the Phoenix Suns on Sunday. The Mavericks held the Kings to just 39 percent from the floor (30-of-77) and just 5-of-17 from the arc, after allowing Phoenix to shoot 65 percent (46-of-71) against them.

"Our focus was on the defensive side of the ball," Stackhouse said. "We were real disappointed with how we played against Phoenix. I thought we were better, not great, but a lot better than last game."

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