Mavericks 102, Suns 101

Josh Howard looked sharp coming off a 13-game break to

rehabilitate his surgically repaired left ankle, scoring 18 of his

20 points in the second half and leading the Dallas Mavericks to a

102-101 victory over the reeling Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night.

Howard missed the first five games of the season recovering from

the surgery, then lasted just 2 1/2 games. The Mavs put him through

some grueling workouts to make sure he’s all the way back, and he

sure looked it by scoring 16 points during a stretch late in the

third quarter and early in the fourth when Dallas went from being

tied at 66 to leading 88-79.

Phoenix made three 3-pointers in the final 47.9 seconds to make

things interesting all the way to the buzzer, but the Suns wound up

losing for the fourth time in five games. All those losses are on

the road, and they’ve all come during the first eight days of

December. Phoenix lost only three times over the last week of

October and all of November.

Dirk Nowitzki had 33 points and eight rebounds, and Shawn Marion

had 10 points and seven rebounds in his first game against his

longtime team since rejoining the Western Conference. The Mavericks

also ended their first two-game losing streak of the season.