DALLAS Josh Howard sparked first-half spurts of 17-1 and 11-0, letting the Dallas Mavericks build a huge lead that they turned into an easy 105-92 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night.
The first of four meetings this season between the Western Conference powers lacked the sizzle likely to be found in future matchups. If anything, this will give the Spurs more incentive next time around, on Dec. 5 in San Antonio.
The Mavericks came out aggressive on both ends and the Spurs who'd won four straight and were a West-best 7-1 were slow to respond.
Dirk Nowitzki hit three straight baskets to start Dallas' first run and Howard helped finish it off with the Mavericks ahead by 14. San Antonio got back within eight points, then Howard started the second burst and the Mavs led by at least 10 the rest of the game.
The Spurs wound up allowing 33 points in the first quarter and 59 in the first half, their worst in any quarter and any half this season. It was so bad they didn't even match Dallas' first-quarter point total until there was 3:39 left in the second quarter.
Howard finished with 23 points and Nowitzki had 17, only three coming in the second half. Jason Terry had 18 points, and Devin Harris scored 14 of his 18 in the fourth quarter. Jerry Stackhouse added 10 points.
An attempted "Green Out" green T-shirts handed out to fans in hopes of turning the arena green was about the only thing that fizzled. Way too many fans in the high-dollar seats opted not to wear them or, worse yet, put them on under sports coats.
Tim Duncan bounced back from a five-point, 2-for-13 performance in a rout over the Lakers to score 24 points on 11-of-21 shooting. His teammates, however, caught whatever funk their leader was in the previous game.
Tony Parker was 1-for-11 for seven points and Michael Finley went 0-for-6 and was scoreless. The four starters other than Duncan combined for only 15 points. Manu Ginobili led San Antonio with 25 points.
SUNS 112, BULLS 102: At Phoenix, Leandro Barbosa scored 25 points and Phoenix pulled away for its fourth straight win. Barbosa made five of seven 3-pointers, and Grant Hill added 24 points for the Suns on the heels of his 21-point effort against New York two nights earlier. Shawn Marion scored 11 of his 21 points in the final 6 1/2 minutes and Boris Diaw had seven of his 10 down the stretch in relief of Amare Stoudemire, who drew four fouls in a 3:18 minute span of the fourth quarter. Steve Nash had 10 points and 15 assists for the Suns, and Stoudemire added 14 points. Ben Gordon scored 24 and Luol Deng had 23 for the Bulls, who rallied from 14 down in the third quarter to take the lead in the fourth. Chicago fell to 1-6 to start the season.