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Mavericks extend home winning streak to 15 games

Feb 4, 2007 - 5:55 AM DALLAS (Ticker) -- Devean George and Josh Howard each had a hand in extending the home winning streak of the Dallas Mavericks.

George and Howard combined for three pokeaways on one possession in the final minute to help the Mavericks hold on for a 94-93 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves, their 15th straight home triumph.

Howard and Jason Terry scored 22 points apiece for the Mavericks, who survived a subpar game by All-Star Dirk Nowitzki and a disappearing offense down the stretch to collect their fourth straight win overall.

A driving layup by Devin Harris gave Dallas a seemingly comfortable 90-79 lead with 5:50 to play. But Minnesota went to a zone defense and Kevin Garnett on offense and got back into the game.

Consecutive jumpers by Garnett cut the deficit to 92-90 with 1:43 remaining. After a series of empty possessions, Minnesota's Ricky Davis drove to the basket but had the ball slapped away by George.

"They were a couple of plays that we had to have," said George, who scored seven points. "It was a scramble. We didn't want to let them get a shot up because they were getting their rhythm."

Davis recovered the ball but had it slapped away again by Howard. Garnett grabbed the loose ball and Howard stuck in his hand and knocked it away, with the Mavericks taking possession.

"It was a quick reaction, trying not to let them get easy shots," said Howard, who missed the last two games for the birth of his child. "Devean got two, I know I got the last two."

"Devean George got a couple of hands on the ball there at the end," Mavericks coach Avery Johnson said. "(Howard) got that rebound and came up big for us. That is pretty much how we got the game done."

Garnett thought the Mavericks got away with a foul or two.

"I question the calls at the end to Ricky and I," he said. "I thought we were pretty aggressive during that play. We had our chances to win the game."

Nowitzki made two free throws with 18 seconds to go, allowing Dallas to survive rookie Randy Foye's 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Nowitzki scored 18 points on just 5-of-14 shooting for the Mavericks, who shot under 42 percent (32-of-77) and won by one point for the second straight game.

"It's been good to get them," Terry said. "You hate to say you need those kind of games but you definitely do. You can only get better from them."

The Mavericks can tie the franchise record for consecutive home wins set last season on Wednesday vs. Memphis, the worst team in the NBA.

Hampered by foul trouble in the first half, Garnett went to intermission without a rebound. He finished with 25 points and 12 rebounds, but Minnesota dropped to 2-5 under interim coach Randy Wittman.

"I was trying to be aggressive in the second half," Garnett said. "These last couple of games, I haven't been. I played like (garbage) and I was trying to figure it out, go for it and get some momentum going into the fourth quarter and trying to get some things going."

With Garnett struggling, Howard and Nowitzki combined for 23 points to help Dallas open a 56-47 halftime lead. Davis kept Minnesota close with 17 of his 20 points before the break.

Terry and Howard scored five points each in a 15-5 spurt that widened the lead to 71-54 with 6:36 left in the third quarter.

Mark Blount scored 16 points and Trenton Hassell added 13 for Minnesota, which shot 47 percent (36-of-77) and limited Dallas to 42 percent (32-of-77).

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