Dirk Nowitzki scored a season-high 36 points, leading the visiting Dallas Mavericks to a 99-89 victory over the New York Knicks last night.

Josh Howard, who scored a career-high 47 points Saturday in a victory over Utah, added 22 to help the Mavericks beat the Knicks for the 11th time in 12 meetings. Reserve Jerry Stackhouse added 13 points for Dallas, which shot 54 percent from the field.

Zach Randolph scored 24 points, all in the second half, and grabbed 11 rebounds, but the Knicks lost their third straight. Jamal Crawford had 19 points and Fred Jones 16, helping New York cut a 23-point deficit to single digits in the fourth quarter.

Knicks coach Isiah Thomas, who earlier announced an $11.5 million settlement in a sexual harassment case, heard his normal boos during the game, but the fans seemed to focus more of their anger toward center Eddy Curry, who was 3-for-13 from the field and scored six points in another ineffective performance.

The Knicks were without starting point guard Stephon Marbury, still emotional after the death of his father. Marbury was ineffective trying to play in two games since, and the Knicks have said he can have as much time as he needs.

Dallas led by 13 points at halftime, then quickly blew open the game when Nowitzki scored nine points in the first 3:05 of the third quarter. His two free throws made it 60-40, and the lead grew to 71-48 when he converted a three-point play midway through the period. Nowitzki scored 15 points in the third to help the Mavs carry a 79-63 cushion into the fourth.

In other games:

* At Orlando, Josh Smith had 25 points and 16 rebounds as the Atlanta Hawks beat the Magic, 98-87, for their third straight win. It was the second straight loss for Orlando, which was led by Hedo Turkoglu's 22 points.

* At Sacramenton, John Salmons scored 22 points as the Kings edged the Milwaukee Bucks, 96-93. Michael Redd's 24 points led Milwaukee.

* At Phoenix, Dwyane Wade's 31 points led the Miami Heat past the Suns, 117-113.


* Two civil lawsuits against Ron Artest stemming from the November 2004 brawl at the Palace of Auburn Hills were dismissed by U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor.

William Paulson, of Grand Blanc, Mich., claimed he suffered a concussion after Artest and former Pacer Stephen Jackson fought with fans at the close of Indiana's game with the Pistons.

In a second suit, John Ackerman, of St. Clair, claimed he suffered a concussion after being punched by Pacer David Harrison. Ackerman's suit blamed Artest for starting the fight. *