Rockets fall to Mavs 112-108

Rockets lose in Dallas

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Kevin McHale

DALLAS - Dirk Nowitzki scored 22 points, O.J. Mayo had two big fourth-quarter baskets and a career-high 12 assists, and the Dallas Mavericks bounced back from a blowout loss in Houston with a 112-108 victory over the Rockets on Wednesday night.
   Mayo scored five straight points to put Dallas ahead 107-104, and the Mavericks won despite 28 points from James Harden, who scored the last seven for the Rockets.
   Harden missed a 3-pointer and a layup with the Rockets trying to tie in the final seconds, three days after their 33-point win in Houston.
   Chandler Parsons had 23 points for Houston, while Jeremy Lin scored 12 but sat the entire fourth quarter in favor of backup Patrick Beverley.
   Officials twice had to use replay to confirm possession on an out-of-bounds call. The first call in favor of the Rockets was confirmed, giving Harden a second chance. But the second ruling went Dallas' way with 6.4 seconds left, and Darren Collison hit two free throws for a 112-108 lead.
   Harden, who also had nine assists, put the Rockets ahead 104-102 with a 3-pointer with 3:41 remaining, but Mayo answered with a 3 and another jumper to put Dallas up for good at 107-104. Mayo's last assist came on a bucket by Nowitzki that pushed the lead to 109-104.
   Shawn Marion matched Nowitzki with 22 points. Mayo had 13.
   Nowitzki was called for his fifth foul and a technical midway through the fourth quarter after a rough sequence that ended with the 7-footer getting his shot blocked by the 6-foot-1 Beverley. Nowitzki knocked Carlos Delfino to the floor as he was trying to start a fast break.
   Rockets coach Kevin McHale looked primed for a technical a few minutes earlier when Beverley was called for an offensive foul after he ran into Vince Carter while Carter was pursuing Thomas Robinson, whose dunk was waved off.
   Three days after getting outscored by Houston 44-17 in the third quarter, the Mavericks pushed a four-point halftime lead to 13 before letting the Rockets get within 84-83 on a 15-3 spurt late in the third. Carter restored Dallas' four-point lead with a 3-pointer with 14 seconds left.
   Lin hit a 3-pointer at the first-half buzzer, but officials overturned a ruling that the basket was good after a lengthy video review. The change gave Dallas a 60-56 halftime lead.
   Lin's shot came at the end of a sequence that illustrated the brisk pace of the first half. After a Houston miss, Carter rushed up the floor with 7 seconds left, but Marion's layup was blocked by Parsons. The Rockets managed to get Lin an open shot at the 3-point line in less than 4 seconds.
   The Mavericks were shooting nearly 70 percent in the middle of the second quarter but only led by four because the Rockets made six straight shots, four of them coming in a stretch of six combined baskets between the teams in just 1:23.
   Houston's hot streak included three quick 3-pointers that erased most of a 41-31 Dallas lead, the biggest of the first half for the Mavericks. Delfino had two of them.
   Nowitzki had eight points in the first quarter after finishing Sunday's blowout loss with that total. Marion had 12 in the first for Dallas, and the pair combined to go 9 of 12 from the field. Mayo had five assists in the first six minutes, and four of them led to layups and one dunk for Marion.
   NOTES: G Mike James made his first start for Dallas. He was picked up as a free agent and played on a pair of 10-day contracts before getting a guaranteed deal for the rest of the season. It was James' first start since March 25, 2009, with Washington. ... Harden became the third Rockets player with at least 500 free throws in a season. He's on pace to break Moses Malone's franchise record of 630 from 1981-82. ... Mavericks C Elton Brand had a first-quarter block to pass McHale on the career list. They were tied for 24th at 1,690 blocks when the game started. ... Parsons has the longest 20-point streak of his career at five straight games.

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