The AP reports: Down by 12 points after one quarter, the Dallas Mavericks knew better than to panic. Instead, they waited for the struggling Toronto Raptors to crack. It didn’t take long. Dirk Nowitzki had 27 points and 10 rebounds, and Jason Terry also scored 27 points in the Mavericks’ 96-86 victory over the Raptors on Wednesday night… Josh Howard added 20 points for Dallas in his first start since Nov. 18. Howard, who came off the bench Monday night in a loss to Denver after missing 11 games because of a sprained ankle, scored Dallas’ first nine points and had 11 in the first quarter… Jermaine O’Neal scored 19 points for the Raptors, who have lost three straight and are 2-6 since Jay Triano replaced Sam Mitchell as head coach Dec. 3.