DALLAS – Josh Howard had 25 points and five blocked shots, and Dirk Nowitzki added 20 points and 13 rebounds, helping the Dallas Mavericks beat Atlanta 87-78 Thursday night and extend the Hawks’ season-opening losing streak to eight games.

Keith Van Horn added 14 points for the Mavericks, who improved to 3-0 at home and 6-2 overall.

Zaza Pachulia led the Hawks with 21 points and 12 rebounds. Atlanta and the Toronto Raptors are the league’s only winless teams – both at 0-8.

Joe Johnson scored 18 points, and Al Harrington added 15 points and 10 rebounds for Atlanta.

Dallas held a 65-57 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

The Hawks got within 81-77 on Johnson’s three-point play with 2:12 left, but the Mavericks finished with a 6-1 run over the final 1:36 to seal the victory.

Atlanta grabbed a 16-11 first-quarter lead, taking advantage of Dallas’ lowest-scoring quarter of the season. The Mavericks missed 15 of 20 shots from the field in the opening quarter, and Nowitzki went scoreless in 10:51 of the first quarter before getting nine in the second quarter.

Dallas played better defense at the urging of coach Avery Johnson, holding Atlanta to 7-for-20 shooting in the second quarter, and the Mavericks led 40-33 at the break.

The Mavericks were without starting guard Doug Christie, who went to his home in Seattle earlier in the day to have his sore right ankle examined by his personal physician.

Christie has been having problems with the ankle despite starting Dallas’ first seven games this season and the club said he is out indefinitely. The defensive specialist was replaced in the starting lineup by Marquis Daniels, who finished with 11 points.

Notes: Van Horn was back in the rotation after missing Tuesday night’s game because of a sprained middle finger on his right hand. … Point guard Tyronn Lue was replaced by forward Marvin Williams in the Hawks’ starting lineup, a move not related to injury. Lue, who came off the bench in the first quarter, had seven points, two rebounds and one assist in 23 minutes on Tuesday night at San Antonio. … Dallas center Erick Dampier fouled out, going scoreless with eight rebounds and six turnovers.

AP-ES-11-17-05 2314EST

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.