Published: Monday, January 22, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 22, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.
MIAMI — Jerry Stackhouse regained his scoring touch at the right time for the Dallas Mavericks, helping them finally stave off a comeback attempt by the Miami Heat.
Stackhouse — slowly working his way back after spraining his left ankle last month — scored 16 of his 23 points in the final quarter as the Mavericks held on to beat Miami 99-93 on Sunday in the first matchup between the teams since last season's NBA finals.
Josh Howard had 25 points and Dirk Nowitzki added 22 points and 11 rebounds for Dallas, which improved its NBA-best record to 34-8 and is 20-1 in its last 21 games. Plus, the Mavs got some tiny measure of revenge over the Heat, who lost the first two games of last year's finals before rallying to win the championship in six games.
"We just had to keep grinding," Stackhouse said. "It was a great game which had some great players making great plays."
Dwyane Wade — who suffered a left ankle injury in the first quarter, but returned and played 44 minutes — finished with 31 points, six rebounds and six assists for Miami, but missed a potential tying 3-pointer with 5.8 seconds left.
Ex-Gators Jason Williams and Udonis Haslem had 17 and 15 points respectively.
"We still had an opportunity to win the game," Heat center Alonzo Mourning said. "When you put yourself in a position to win, you don't want to just settle for that. They don't keep stats for moral victories."
The Heat were down by 13 early in the second half and their chances clearly didn't look good, especially with Shaquille O'Neal inactive for the 34th straight game because of his surgically repaired knee and Wade hobbling around after injuring his ankle by stepping on Nowitzki's foot late in the first quarter.
"A stupid play," Wade said.
But he returned after getting re-taped and somehow, Miami pulled into a 90-all tie with 3 minutes left.
In other news, Heat rookie Robert Hite was charged with driving under the influence, and missed Miami's game against Dallas.
According to the Miami Beach Police report, which was first obtained by Miami television station WSVN, an officer detected a "strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his breath" after the player was stopped for speeding.
SUNS 131, TIMBERWOLVES 102
Shawn Marion had 17 points and 20 rebounds, then sat out the fourth quarter as host Phoenix won its 13th straight.
The Suns became the eighth team in NBA history to have two winning streaks of at least 13 games in a season.
The Timberwolves were without their top two scorers, Kevin Garnett and Ricky Davis, both on one-game suspensions. Randy Foye led Minnesota with 25 points, including 5-for-6 on 3-pointers. Troy Hudson added 22 points and Trenton Hassell 20.
Amare Stoudemire scored 25 points on 11-for-14 shooting for the Suns.
SPURS 99, 76ERS 85
Tim Duncan had 17 points and 15 rebounds, and Brent Barry scored 23 points as visiting San Antonio never trailed and coasted to its sixth win in eight games.
Robert Horry and Manu Ginobili added 12 points apiece for the Spurs.
Andre Iguodala led the Sixers with 20 points and Steven Hunter had 10 points and a career-high 15 rebounds.
Forward Richard Jefferson will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right ankle today. The team gave no timetable for his return.
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