Nowitzki leads the way as Mavs burn Rockets
Dallas, TX (Sports Network) – Dirk Nowitzki scored 14 of his 30 points in
the fourth quarter and pulled down 10 rebounds, leading the surging Dallas
Mavericks to a 109-96 comeback win over the Rockets, despite Tracy
McGrady’s season-high 45-point night for Houston.
Josh Howard added 28 points for the Mavericks, who rallied from a 13-point
third-quarter deficit to win for the fifth straight time and post their 18th
victory in the last 19 games. Devean George tallied 14 points and Jerry
Stackhouse contributed 13 for Dallas, which has won five of the last six
meetings against its Southwest Division rival.
The Mavs also got revenge for a 107-76 loss at Houston on November 4 in the
only other encounter between the teams this season.
McGrady was firing on all cylinders, going 17-for-29 from the field, including
4-of-11 from three-point range, but he didn’t get much support from his
teammates, as the Rockets had their four-game winning streak snapped.
Rafer Alston’s three-pointer boosted the Rockets to an 81-79 lead nearly two
minutes into the fourth quarter, but the Mavs scored the next seven points to
go ahead for good. Howard two straight jumpers, which included a three-point
play. Nowitzki’s two foul shots made it 86-81 with 8:30 left.
The Rockets couldn’t get closer than three the rest of the way. Nowitzki’s
three extended the margin to 99-88 with 5;55 left.
McGrady had 21 points in the opening quarter, but the Rockets were ahead only
by a 30-25 count going into the second. The first half remained tight, but the
Rockets held a 53-47 advantage at the break. Alston and McGrady hit
consecutive three-pointers for the Rockets to end the half.
“McGrady really got away from us tonight,” Mavs coach Avery Johnson said.
“He’s a pretty incredible player. That was a pretty big time exhibition he put
on in the first quarter.”
Houston’s lead stretched to 65-52 with 7:47 left in the third after a McGrady
three, but the Rockets went over the next three minutes without a point. That
was enough for Dallas to use a 10-0 run to close the gap, with George’s jumper
capping the burst.
“They only had 28 points in the paint tonight and they scored 109 points,”
Houston’s Shane Battier said. “That shows they were hitting their shots
tonight. Tip your cap to them.”
Juwan Howard’s layup finally ended Houston’s drought with 4:28 left in the
quarter, but the Rockets trailed 76-74 going into the fourth.
However, it was rough going for McGrady in the final period.
“Definitely, he hit some tough shots early and we kind of gave him a couple
just on the rotations and what not,” Mavericks guard Devin Harris said. “But
we picked it up in the third; Josh did a great job and Greg (Buckner) and
Devean too. They all did a great job on him, just making his shots tough.”
Houston has lost eight of its last nine at Dallas…The Mavs, who are 18-3 at
home this season, will host Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers on
Thursday…George went 4-of-5 from three-point range…Juwan Howard had 16
points and Alston 12…Dikembe Mutombo had 10 rebounds for Houston…Dallas
has captured 18 of its last 19 home games after opening the season 0-2 at
American Airlines Center.