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Nowitzki, Howard propel Mavericks

Jan 28, 2008 - 3:27 AM DALLAS (Ticker) -- Dirk Nowitzki scored 32 points and Josh Howard added 20 as the Dallas Mavericks defeated the Denver Nuggets, 90-85, on Sunday.

For Nowitzki, it was his 13th consecutive game with at least 20 points.

Jason Terry scored 19 points for Dallas, which has won seven straight on its home floor - including a thrilling 112-105 victory over Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday.

"We're communicating better and finding our open shots and knocking them down," Howard said. "On the defensive end, guys are not quitting on plays. We're staying in it."

Nowitzki and Howard had a hand in Dallas' 13-2 first-quarter run, scoring 10 of the team's points to stake the Mavericks to a 20-11 lead with 2:51 remaining in the period. Howard scored six of his 12 first-quarter points in the run.

"I'm just trying to stay consistent," Howard said. "Giving my team some energy. They responded, and that's a good thing. We've just got to carry it over to the second half."

Eddie Jones, who had been a big part of holding Allen Iverson to nine first-half points, was called for his fifth foul at 7:37 in the third quarter. It was the third foul called on him in a 20-second span.

Iverson finished with 23 points and Anthony Carter - after being held scoreless in the first half - finished with 20 points, including 14 in the fourth quarter.

"We ran a play for him that kept working, so we kept running it," Denver coach George Karl said. "He got hot and Kenyon (Martin) and Marcus (Camby) got him some looks. He came up top first and they roamed and he got one. Then they pinned him one time, then he flaired one time. It was pretty cool."

"Carter made some shots," Nowitzki said. "He really stepped up in the fourth quarter and got hot. He really made it a close game."

Denver was able to cut the score to four points three times in the fourth quarter, the last at 28.2 seconds, but Nowitzki kept firing. He finished with 16 points in the fourth quarter, including two consecutive 3s.

"Like I said, Carter was getting hot there and the lead was melting down, so I was fortunate to have some good looks," Nowitzki said. "The first one was out of a scramble. The ball was loose and they were already in transition. I was kind of lucky to find myself open in the corner. The second one, Josh made a great play and found me open in the corner, so it was a good time to make some 3s."

J.R. Smith had 12 points for Denver, who played without All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony for the third straight game. Anthony has a sprained right ankle.

Speaking of sprained ankles, Devin Harris suffered an injury to his left ankle during the third quarter.

Harris was injured driving to the basket for a layup at the 7:52 mark of the third quarter, landing awkwardly on his foot before falling just beyond the baseline. He was helped off the floor by the Mavericks' training staff to the locker room for further examination.

"I think myself and J.J. Barea are going to be ready to go, but our prayers with Devin for a speedy recovery," Terry said. "And he'll bounce back. He's still young and full of energy."

The team announced that Harris will miss Monday's game at the Memphis Grizzlies.