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Harris helps Mavericks snap three-game skid

Nov 29, 2007 - 6:18 AM DALLAS (Ticker) -- Dallas Mavericks coach Avery Johnson was looking for better play out of his point guards. Devin Harris delivered on Wednesday night.

Harris was efficient with the ball and Dirk Nowitzki had 27 points and 11 rebounds as the Mavericks snapped a three-game losing streak with a 109-103 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Harris scored 22 points and Brandon Bass added 15 off the bench for Dallas, which lost the last two games of a three-game road trip before enduring a 110-98 setback to the Washington Wizards on Monday - its first home loss.

"We didn't have a good last couple of games," Harris said. "We definitely had to get back to the normal, obviously. We did that, got back to guys that have been here and got off to a good start doing the things that we do well."

Both Harris and Johnson admitted that Terry was the catalyst in this contest.

"Jason knows what we do well better than anybody," Harris said. "We've got to get back to what's normal, slinging the ball, pick-and-rolls and everything that we do well. Jet can show those guys better than anybody. I know where Jet's going to be. I know where (Jerry Stackhouse) is going to be. When you play with guys you are used to, those things come into play."

"That first half it kind of looked like old times a little bit," Johnson said. "Jet (Terry) and Devin were pushing the ball. Jet was spacing the floor for Devin to drive, and we thought Bass and (Stackhouse) came in in the first half and gave us a big lift."

The Mavericks went 36-5 at home last season and are now 7-1 at American Airlines Center this campaign.

After Monday's contest, Johnson blasted his team's point guard play as Harris and Terry combined to shoot 5-of-19 from the field, including 1-of-8 from the arc. The Mavericks' floor generals played much sharper on Wednesday.

Harris was 9-of-10 from the field and was joined in the starting backcourt by Terry, who had been coming off the bench this season. Terry's shot a mediocre 5-of-11 in his stint at the off-guard spot.

"We are going to hopefully get it back there (Terry coming off the bench), but in the short term there are other solutions we try and work," Johnson said. "So we had to go back to our normal five. We still think to win a championship you have to be bigger at the two spot, especially against some of the teams we need to beat."

Dallas ran off seven straight points to take its largest lead of the night on Nowitzki's 15-foot jumper to make it 72-52 with 6:23 left.

Minnesota answered with a 23-9 run to get its deficit down to 81-75 with 40.9 seconds left in the third on Marko Jaric's running shot. Al Jefferson and Antoine Walker each had seven points and Craig Smith had five in the run.

"(Al) was a monster down there and our guys played off of him," Minnesota coach Randy Wittman said. "Al passed it when they doubled him and got other people involved. But he was a monster down there, getting to the line 14 times is growth for him. That's what he's capable of doing is putting pressure on guys and getting to the line."

"We just weren't concentrating on defense and then stopped making shots," Mavericks forward Josh Howard said. "That's fixable mistakes."

It was a wonder the Timberwolves were in the game against the Mavericks, who took control early in the first quarter and seemed primed to run away with the game.

Harris made a driving layup at the 9:48 mark in the first quarter to give Dallas a 7-5 lead en route to a 30-22 advantage at the end of the first quarter. The Mavericks never trailed after that early burst.

Harris scored 11 points on 4-of-4 shooting in the opening quarter for Dallas , which shot 57 percent (12-of-21) in the first 12 minutes.

Nowitzki scored eight points in the second for the Mavericks, who ran out to a 58-45 lead at halftime before fending off the Timberwolves in the second half.

"I thought we did a better job in the second half," Wittman said. "But crawling out of a hole of 13 at the half and then 20, our guys kept fighting and that's all you can ask."

Jefferson scored 31 points for Minnesota.

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