(AP) – John Wall had 31 points and seven assists in his return from injury, and the Houston Rockets snapped a five-game skid with a 102-93 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night.
“We didn’t stop fighting," Wall said. “We made some big stops and we made some big shots."
Wall had missed the previous four games with swelling in his right knee. Christian Wood added 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Rockets.
“It’s good to finally have my point guard back," Wood said. “John made my job easier. He was our X-factor in the fourth quarter."
The game was tied with about two minutes left before the Rockets scored the next seven points to take a 96-89 lead with a minute to go. Wall got things going in that stretch with a layup and a three-point play. Kevin Porter Jr. capped the run when he blocked a shot by Dorian Finney-Smith and finished on the other end with a two-handed dunk.
Coach Stephen Silas was impressed with his team's focus and was thrilled to see players having some fun in a tough season.
“To see the elation in the guys was gratifying because they’ve been through a lot and we’ve been through a lot as a group," he said.
Kristaps Porzingis had 23 points and 12 rebounds in his return after missing Monday’s game with a sprained right wrist for the Mavericks, whose five-game winning streak ended. Luka Doncic added 23 points on 9-of-26 shooting, including 1 of 9 on 3-pointers.
“This game was a lot more about how well they played,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. “We’ve got to be better at the beginning of the game and carry it through and tonight we didn’t do that.”
The game was the last of the season between the in-state rivals. It was rescheduled from Feb. 19 because of utility problems after a rare Texas winter storm. Houston won the season series 2-1.
Houston led by 11 after three quarters, but the Mavericks used a 12-5 run, with seven points from Tim Hardaway Jr., to get within 80-76 with about eight minutes remaining.
A three-point play from Kelly Olynyk gave the Rockets an 89-84 advantage. But the Mavericks scored the next five points, highlighted by a 3 from Finney-Smith, to tie it about a minute later.
Mavericks: Maxi Kleber sat out with right leg soreness. ... Trey Burke missed a second straight game with a strained left calf. ... Hardaway had 18 points off the bench.
Rockets: Danuel House Jr. missed his second game with a sprained right ankle. ... Porter had 14 points.
Olynyk had 10 points and a career-high 18 rebounds. He's played well since being traded from Miami on March 25 and has had three games with 20 points or more, including a season-high 26 on Sunday. His previous career best in rebounds was 16 on Nov. 25, 2019.
“He just has that knack of doing what you need," Silas said. “We obviously wouldn’t have won the game without him and his contributions."
Mavericks: Play the first of three home games on Thursday night against Milwaukee.
Rockets: Begin a three-game trip on Friday night against the Clippers.
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