for this game

Howard, Harris help Mavericks silence Bobcats

Jan 24, 2008 - 5:03 AM By Derek Smith PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Josh Howard scored 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead the visiting Dallas Mavericks to a 102-95 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday night.

Devin Harris scored 23 points and Dirk Nowitzki chipped in 20 for the Mavericks, who rebounded from a season-worst, 18-point loss at Washington on Monday.

It was a homecoming of sorts for Howard, who played his college ball just up the road at Wake Forest.

"We haven't been the road team that we've been in the past," Howard said. "So, getting this one tonight was big for us. It's always a great feeling to play in front of family and friends."

Dallas jumped out of the gates early thanks to its hometown star, who scored 18 points in the first half, and were rarely challenged by Charlotte thereafter.

The Bobcats took their only lead of the game after Emeka Okafor split a pair of free throws to open the scoring just 34 ticks into the game but, after that, it was all Dallas. Howard scored four points in a 10-0 burst to take the lead for good.

"There were a lot of positives," Dallas coach Avery Johnson said. "We took care of the ball, and Devin Harris made some really big-time moves for us."

Jason Terry, who finished with 16 points on 5-of-11 shooting, hit a 3-pointer at the end of the first quarter to put Dallas ahead, 30-17.

Jason Richardson tried to spark the Bobcats' comeback with 16 points in the second quarter, but the Mavericks had an answer for every run.

"We kept on playing hard," Richardson said. "But we just got tired towards the end. We can't let teams come out the way they did in the first quarter. That's what killed us."

Charlotte tried to rally again at the start of the third quarter with four quick points, but Harris scored 13 in the period to help keep his team in control.

"The way they played us tonight was an opportunity for me to get in the paint," Harris said. "We exploited it all night long, and I was really able to take advantage in the third."

Dallas converted all 10 of its free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.

"When it came down to it, we got the stops when we needed it tonight," Harris said. "We did what we needed to get the win."

Mavericks swingman Jerry Stackhouse provided the lone down note when he left the game in the first half with a right hamstring strain and did not return.

Charlotte was led by Richardson and Gerald Wallace, who scored 22 points apiece.

Dallas, along with the Phoenix Suns, remain the two teams which Charlotte has yet to beat in their four-year existence.