Saturday, December 8, 2007

Josh Howard lights up Utah for 47

Josh Howard takes pride in jump-starting the Mavericks’ offense. He’s normally not the one finishing the job.

He never clocked out Saturday night. Howard slashed Utah for a career-high 47 points, as the Mavs pulled away late for a 125-117 shootout victory over Utah before 20,300 fans at American Airlines Center. Dallas (13-8) snapped a two-game losing streak before heading back out on the road.

“I stayed aggressive for four quarters. I had a lot of confidence tonight and my teammates were finding me in the right spots,” said Howard, whose previous high was 30. “I want to be a more complete player. A big part of helping this team out is doing a little bit of everything.

“I know if I can score a little bit more, it is going to take the pressure off Dirk [Nowitzki] and Jason [Terry], as well as [Jerry Stackhouse]. I want to keep doing the little things to help my team.”

Howard had it going early, scoring 12 points in the first quarter. That’s nothing new. Double-digit outputs in the opening period are old hat for the fifth-year small forward.

Continuing that torrid pace is something that hasn’t happened much. By design, Nowitzki and Terry are the usual shooting suspects down the stretch. On this night, however, the ball kept finding its way into Howard’s hands.

And from there, it found the bottom of the net.

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