Tuesday , Mar , 21 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Nowitzki powers Dallas over Houston

Dallas, TX (Sports Network) – Dirk Nowitzki scored 12 of his game-high 28
points in the fourth quarter to lead Dallas to an 88-72 rout of the Houston
Rockets at American Airlines Center.

Jerry Stackhouse tallied 16 points and Jason Terry scored 12 for the
Mavericks, who swept the four-game season series. The Mavericks shot just 40.5
percent from the field, but won for the fourth time in five games. Dallas,
which improved to 30-5 at home, remained a half-game behind San Antonio for
the top spot in the Western Conference.

“We thought our defense and offense was good in the first half, but in the
second we struggled,” Mavericks head coach Avery Johnson said. “We had one
turnover in the first and 10 in the second half. That is something we will
take a look at.”

Yao Ming scored 13 points and had 13 rebounds for Houston, which lost its
sixth straight game. Luther Head had a team-high 16 points and Rafer Alston
contributed 13 points for the Rockets.

“We had great energy in the first quarter,” Alston said. “Then the second
quarter, when they came out with their bench, they were able to get out and
run and cause little mismatches all over the court.”

The game was tied at 20 after the first quarter, but the Mavericks used a 12-2
run in the second to go ahead, 36-26. Nowitzki’s basket capped the spurt
midway through the quarter.

Dallas outscored Houston, 31-14, in the second for a 51-34 lead at the half.

The Mavs’ largest lead was 20 points, as Nowitzki buried a three-pointer with
five minutes left in the third for a 65-45 advantage.

Dallas led 72-56 through three quarters and the lead never dipped under double
digits in the last 12 minutes.

Game Notes

Nowitzki has scored at least 20 points in each of the past 15 games…The
Rockets had 19 turnovers to 16 assists…Dallas improved to 17-1 when its
opponent has more turnovers than assists this season…The Mavericks made as
many free throws (24) as the Rockets attempted…Yao had his career-high 14-
game streak of scoring 20-plus points snapped…The Rockets had just eight
offensive rebounds and scored only three second-chance points.