Dallas, TX (Sports Network) - Josh Howard scored 28 points to lead a balanced attack, as the Dallas Mavericks staved off the third-seeded San Antonio Spurs, 99-90, in Game 4 of their Western Conference quarterfinal series.
Jason Kidd chipped in 17 points, seven rebounds and as many assists for the Mavs, who have won 17 of their last 18 home games (including the playoffs) and assumed a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. Game 5 is set for Tuesday in San Antonio.
"We have to do the same things down there as we did up here," Howard said about Game 5. "It's going to be a tough crowd, they're going to come with everything and we've got to be ready and focused."
"It was a collective group effort, everyone giving it their all," said Howard. "We know as far as San Antonio what they want to do with Jet (Terry) and Dirk so we're working on and doing different things to get the ball in the basket and guys are responding great to it."
Tony Parker poured in 43 points, including 31 in the first half to tie George Gervin's franchise playoff record, on 18-of-29 shooting for the Southwest Division-champion Spurs, who won Game 2, 105-84, but have lost the other three games by a combined score of 38 points.
Tim Duncan donated 25 points, 10 boards and seven helpers in the setback. No other Spur reached double-figures in scoring.
With the Spurs trailing by 12 late in the game, George Hill nailed a three- pointer to spark an 11-2 run. Parker had three baskets on the surge, which made it 87-84 with 6:44 left.
With two minutes left, two free throws from Howard made it a five-point affair, 95-90.
Two possessions later for San Antonio, Michael Finley missed a three-pointer and Terry grabbed the rebound before Ryan Hollins was fouled with 1:06 left. He missed both shots, but Matt Bonner then missed a shot at the other end, which led to Nowitzki's layup with 39.9 ticks left, making it 97-90 and sealing the victory.
Parker's free throw at the end of the first quarter cut the Spurs' deficit to 32-29.
Two free throws from Jose Barea and one from Terry gave the home team a 40-33 lead early in the second period. With the Spurs trailing 47-38 midway through the second, Parker hit a pair of threes as San Antonio outscored Dallas 17-4 to end the first half. The surge gave the Spurs a 55-51 edge at the intermission.
The score stayed close in the third quarter, and Ime Udoka's free throw and Duncan's layup closed the gap to 66-63 with 5:15 left in the frame.
Howard scored four straight points to give the Mavs a 72-65 lead a little later. Then, the home team was on top, 80-71, heading to the final 12 minutes.
"Tony was unbelievable," said Duncan. "He really kept us in it. We just hate to have an effort like that go to waste. But he was unbelievable tonight, and once again we played pretty decent in the first half but the third quarter killed us again. We have to find a way to solve that problem. We seem to come out of the half and lose leads or let people back in the game or increase people's leads. So that was another problem for us tonight."
Antoine Wright's three-point play gave Dallas an 83-71 lead early in the fourth.
Game Notes: Dallas shot 38.4 percent from the field, while San Antonio hit at a 44.3 percent clip...The Mavs won the battle of the boards, 49-35...These two clubs split the four-game regular season series this year, with the highlight being the Spurs' 133-126 double-overtime victory in Dallas on December 9.