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Howard outshines Williams as Mavs beat Jazz again at home

Dec 9, 2007 - 6:04 AM DALLAS (Ticker) -- Josh Howard made sure the Utah Jazz continued to stumble in big "D".

Howard collected a career-best 47 points and 10 rebounds to help offset an explosion by Deron Williams as the Dallas Mavericks posted a 125-117 victory over the Jazz on Saturday night.

Howard connected on 14-of-19 shots - including 4-of-5 from the arc - and sank 15-of-17 free throws en route to the sixth-best performance in franchise history.

"I stayed aggressive for four quarters," Howard said. "I had a lot of confidence tonight and my teammates were finding me in the right spots. I want to be a more complete player."

"Obviously, we didn't have much of an answer for Howard," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "He had a wonderful game. Anytime you have a team like that shoot 59 percent it's awfully tough for us to win. Give (Dallas) all the credit, they played well."

Williams also brought his "A" game, collecting a season-best 41 points and seven assists for Utah, which finished winless on its three-game trip.

"I was trying to answer and trying to help my team win," Williams said. "There were some cold points in the game in getting our offense to score so I was just trying to take it upon myself to help us stay in it."

It was the Mavericks eighth win in the last 10 home meetings over the Jazz, who fell to 2-10 all-time at American Airlines Center.

Devin Harris' assist to Erick Dampier helped the Mavs create a commanding 83-68 advantage in the third quarter before the Jazz made things interesting.

"We gave them some short-term challenges offensively and defensively," Mavs coach Avery Johnson said. "We met most of them offensively, we didn't meet many of them defensively, but the energy was really high."

Behind Williams, Utah closed out the third on an impressive 14-7 surge, capped by Williams' 3-pointer with 34 seconds to go to slice the deficit to 90-82 heading into the final period.

Dirk Nowitzki's 16-foot jumper gave Dallas a 103-95 bulge with 7:43 remaining, but Williams answered the call once again, pouring in seven of the Jazz's next nine points to draw within three.

Howard's one-handed dunk pushed Dallas' advantage to 112-106 with 4 1/2 minutes to go.

"We stayed aggressive. I think that is something that coach wanted us to do," Howard said. "The last couple of losses we had a big let down and gave up some leads. If we stay aggressive throughout the whole game we can have more turnouts like this."

After Williams hit two free throws to cut the lead to 112-110 with 3:41 remaining, Dallas then went on a 7-1 run to pad its cushion and secure the win.

Dampier netted 21 points, Jason Terry chipped in 19 and Nowitzki added 16 for Dallas, which shot a blistering 59 percent (43-of-72) and made 9-of-16 3-pointers.

Jazz forward Carlos Boozer finished with 24 points before fouling out for the second straight night.

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