Saturday , May , 07 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

Texas tussle goes the distance

Dallas, TX (Sports Network) – The Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks play
for the right to advance to the Western Conference semifinals tonight, as the
teams meet in Game 7 of their quarterfinal set at American Airlines Center.

Dallas is 2-1 all-time in Game 7s. The Mavericks are 2-0 as the host in the
decisive game. The last time Dallas played in a Game 7 was on May 17, 2003,
when the Mavericks beat Sacramento, 112-99, at American Airlines Center in the
conference semifinals.

Houston is 5-1 all-time in Game 7s. The Rockets are 2-1 when they are the
visitor in the decisive contest. The last time Houston played in a Game 7 was
on May 17, 1997, when they beat Seattle, 96-91, at The Summit in the
conference semis.

The winner of this series will play the top-seeded Phoenix Suns in the
conference semifinals.

On Thursday, Tracy McGrady poured in a game-high 37 points, and the Rockets
snapped a three-game losing streak with a 101-83 victory over the Mavericks in
Game 6 of their series. Jon Barry and Mike James combined to scored 36 points
off the bench for the Rockets, who got their first win in this series since
taking Games 1 and 2 in Dallas.

Houston took control with a 19-0 run in the fourth quarter, turning a one-
point game into a rout. Barry scored 12 of his 14 points in the fourth, and
James had nine of his 22 in the period.

The Mavericks failed Thursday to become just the third team ever to win a
playoff series after losing the first two games at home. They will get another
chance at home when the teams meet for Game 7 on Saturday. Jerry Stackhouse
scored 21 points to lead Dallas, but had just seven in the second half. Dirk
Nowitzki added 19 points on 5-of-22 shooting in the loss, and Mike Finley
scored 14.

Dallas did comeback from a 2-0 deficit to beat Utah, 3-2, in the first round
of the 2001 postseason. The Mavericks were an impressive 29-12 at home during
the regular season.

Houston does have history on its side, as it is 7-0 when it won the first two
contests of a playoff series. Only the Los Angeles Lakers in 1969 and the
Rockets in 1994 have come back from an 0-2 deficit to win a best-of-seven
series after losing the first two games at home.

The last playoff series Houston won was in 1997, when it eliminated the
SuperSonics in seven games in the conference semifinals.

The Rockets were 25-16 as the visitor during the regular season.

Dallas has dropped six of its last eight games at home in the postseason,
while the Rockets have lost eight of their last 10 road contests in the

This is the second time that Dallas and Houston have met in the postseason. In
1988, the Mavericks eliminated the Rockets, 3-1, in the first round. During
the regular season, the teams split four games as each club picked up win at
home and on the road. In last year’s playoffs, Dallas fell to Sacramento in
five games in the first round, while the Rockets were also eliminated in five
in the opening round by the Lakers.