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Terry carries Mavericks past Hornets

Dec 15, 2007 - 6:25 AM DALLAS (Ticker) -- Jason Terry scored 25 points and Josh Howard added 15 and 10 rebounds as the Dallas Mavericks held on for an 89-80 triumph over the New Orleans Hornets on Friday.

Mavs swingman Jerry Stackhouse netted 16 off the bench to pick up the slack for Dirk Nowitzki, who was held to a season-low seven points on 2-of-8 shooting from the field.

It was Terry's third 20-point effort since Dallas coach Avery Johnson put the sharpshooter back into the starting lineup on November 28.

"I had a good rhythm out there and guys were setting great picks out there," Terry said. "Right now, we're just trying to find some rhythm and find some consistency on both ends of the floor. Tonight was a great start for us. Now, we need to build on it."

After trailing by as many as 16 points, New Orleans battled back to take the lead on Chris Paul's driving layup at the 5:37 mark for a 52-51 edge in the third quarter.

"(Paul's) so herky-jerky with the ball and just pounds the (heck) out of the ball," Stackhouse said defending Paul. "I don't think it was really any one defensive scheme, it was more energy and effort."

Paul's go-ahead basket capped an impressive 17-8 surge to open the second half. Paul and Peja Stojakovic scored 15 combined points during the run.

"We felt like we had the game," New Orleans forward David West said. "There was a stretch there where we kept turning the ball over, turning the ball over, and it pushed the lead back to 10. I think that's really what broke our back. Because of their nature, they'll let you back into the game."

However, Dallas regained the advantage for good when Terry buried a 3-pointer to spark an 24-10 run that made it 78-64 with 8:03 remaining in the decisive third period.

"The ball was moving, we had 22 assists, but that is the way we like to play," Johnson said. "We still missed some shots here and there, but I just thought we were very competitive and very alert. We didn't make the same mistakes. They made a little run in the third, but we were still able to stay strong throughout the game."

"We just couldn't get anything right," Hornets reserve Bobby Jackson said. "To start the fourth, we came out and changed the momentum and played pretty tough defense. But we couldn't get a shot and we had a couple of turnovers, and I think that's what really changed the game when we started the fourth quarter."

Dallas jumped out to a 24-13 edge after one quarter.

"I thought they did a heck of a job defensively just getting after us," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "We did a poor job of executing and matching their intensity on that end of the floor. But again, you've got to give them a lot of credit."

The Hornets were never able to mount another rally thereafter as they dropped their second straight game.

Paul finished with 22 points and Tyson Chandler added 15 and 10 boards for New Orleans, which shot 47 percent (35-of-74) and committed 17 turnovers.

"Chris Paul is a tough cover for us out on the perimeter," Terry said. "Chandler is tough for our big guys but, for the most part, we played a good first half of defense. We had good energy."

Stojakovic scored 10 points in his first game after sitting out the past two with a strained left groin.

"Peja kind of led the charge in the third quarter and then had to leave with the injury," Jackson said. "The type of injury he has, he'll have to rest it and give it some time. He's got to sit and let it heal."

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