Wednesday , Apr , 04 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Mavericks clinch division with win over Kings

Sacramento, CA (Sports Network) – Josh Howard scored 29 points and grabbed
eight rebounds as the Dallas Maverick clinched the Southwest Division with a
97-93 win over the Sacramento Kings at ARCO Arena.

Jason Terry added 27 points, five rebounds and five assists for the Western
Conference’s top seed Mavericks, who rebounded from Sunday’s loss to Phoenix
to win for the 10th time in 11 games. Jerry Stackhouse tallied 23 points off
the bench for playoff-bound Dallas, which played without injured star Dirk
Nowitzki. The MVP candidate missed the contest with food poisoning.

Ron Artest had 25 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Kings, who have lost
three straight. Kevin Martin added 17 points and nine rebounds and Mike Bibby
tallied 16 points for Sacramento, which has lost 11 of 13 overall.

The Kings, who trailed 49-48 at halftime, scored the first four points of the
third quarter to take the lead. The advantage eventually crept to seven
points, 66-59, after a John Salmons bucket with 4 1/2 minutes left, but Dallas
responded with an 18-4 run that bridged the final two quarters to take the
lead for good.

Stackhouse briefly gave the Mavs a 69-68 lead towards the end of the third
quarter, but a Salmons bucket sent the Kings into the fourth with a 70-69
edge. Stackhouse, though, opened the fourth with a three-point play, Terry
followed with a three-pointer and Erick Dampier’s bucket capped the run
for a 77-70 lead.

Sacramento managed to draw within three points a few times late in the fourth,
but the Mavs always had an answer, never allowing the Kings to have the ball
with a chance to tie or take the lead.

Shareef-Abdur Rahim had 12 points for the Kings, who led 24-23 after one
quarter.

The Mavs, who lead the division by nine games over the Spurs with eight to
play, also trimmed their magic number to clinch the best record in the
league to three. The Suns trail the Mavs by six games.

Game Notes

Dallas earned its first four-game series sweep from Sacramento in five
seasons…Dampier ended with three points. He missed Sunday’s game after
straining his right shoulder in a 105-103 home victory over New York on
Friday…Dallas has won five straight and 10 of 12 from Sacramento.

DAL SAC