Notebook: Mavericks 116, Rockets 109



Posted Dec 9, 2012 12:16 AM

By Matt Miller, For NBA.com

THE FACTS: All the Dallas Mavericks needed to earn their eighth consecutive victory over the Houston Rockets was a great start and finish from O.J. Mayo, as they spoiled Rockets' coach Kevin McHale's return to the sidelined and snapped Houston's six-game home winning streak with a 116-109 triumph on Saturday night at Toyota Center.

Mayo matched his career best with 40 points, grabbed a season-high eight rebounds and collected two steals. Chris Kaman scored 20 points and pulled down seven boards in less than 19 minutes and Vince Carter added 12 points and five rebounds off the bench for the Mavericks (10-10), who trailed by as many as 11 points in the fourth quarter after squandering a 19-point first period advantage.

James Harden led Houston (9-10), which has lost back-to-back games, with 39 points, nine assists and six rebounds. Chandler Parsons chipped in with a double-double of 18 points and 10 boards.

QUOTABLE: "Unbelievable performance. What [Mayo is] showing over the first 20 games is that he has the ability to carry a team at times. It was really impressive tonight. He's shown a strong-willed mentality and is really hungry to win. ... You talk about an emotional rollercoaster of a game. It doesn't get any more crazy than this one tonight."

-- Dallas coach Rick Carlisle on Mayo

THE STAT: In a game in which Mayo and Harden lit up the scoreboard, it was Mayo who came through in crunch time. The fifth-year guard poured in 16 points on 6-for-9 shooting and committed only one turnover in the final 12 minutes, while Harden posted three points on 1-for-4 shooting to go with three turnovers. Mayo entered Saturday's contest 0-7 in his career when playing at Toyota Center.

TURNING POINT: After the Rockets claimed their largest lead of the game, 96-85 with 9:15 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Mavericks responded with a 22-5 run to claim a 107-101 advantage with 2:49 left to play. Dallas' defense delivered its best stretch of the night during the game-changing spurt, forcing four turnovers and limiting Houston to 2-for-10 shooting.

QUOTABLE II: "I really wanted to focus on the defensive end [in the fourth quarter]. ... We all imposed our will on the game."

-- O.J. Mayo on Dallas' final-period comeback

HOT: The Mavericks had their transition game clicking and mid-range jumpers falling in the opening period, as Dallas racked up a season-high 39 points on 68.2 percent shooting in the first quarter. Mayo paced the early offensive outburst with 16 points on 6-for-7 shooting. The Rockets answered the Mavericks' scorching start with a sizzling second quarter in which they scored a season-best 42 points on 70.0 percent (14-for-20) shooting. Harden netted 19 points and knocked down all six of his field-goal attempts in the period.

NOT: Elton Brand did not respond well to returning to a reserve role, finishing with only two points and four boards in nearly 15 minutes on the court. In fact, Carlisle was so disappointed with Brand's effort that he elected to play rarely used rookie Bernard James for a few minutes in the fourth quarter.

BAD MOVE: Houston, without question, is a below-average defensive team. But it has regressed into arguably the league's worst defense over the last seven games. Dallas became the Rockets' seventh straight opponent to net at least 101 points. Houston's last six opponents have combined to hit 50.4 percent (266-for-528) of their shot attempts.

QUOTABLE III: "It seemed like, earlier in the year, our defense is what fueled us. ... I don't want to say that we are concentrating too much on offense, but our offense is fine. It's just our defense [that is causing problems]."

-- Houston forward Patrick Patterson

NOTABLE: Fans in attendance greeted McHale, whose daughter Sasha died Nov. 24, with a standing ovation when his name was announced during the pregame lineup introductions. Several Mavericks greeted the Houston coach with hugs and pats on the back shortly before tip-off. ... With McHale roaming the sidelines again, Kelvin Sampson returned to his usual role as McHale's lead assistant. Houston went 7-6 under Sampson's leadership. ... Dallas' center Kaman, who suffered a sprained left ankle during Thursday's win at Phoenix, left the game during the third quarter and did not return. "His ankle's purple if you want to go look at it in the training room," Carlisle said. "He's obviously struggling laterally. ... He was just getting sore, and we knew we had to get a quicker guy out there." ... The Mavericks started Brandan Wright in place of ailing forward Shawn Marion, who suffered a strained groin Thursday. That marked Dallas' 10th different starting lineup in only 20 games this season. ... Six of the last seven meetings between these clubs have been decided by seven points or less. ... The Mavericks scored a season-high 32 points in the fourth quarter. ... The Mavericks improved to 6-1 when Mayo scores at least 25 points. ... Dallas won on the road for the first time this season (1-7) when allowing at least 100 points. ... Houston has trailed by at least 17 points at some point in each of their last three games. ... The Rockets fell to 3-9 this season against Western Conference opponents. ... Houston recorded its seventh 60-point half of the season, racking up 66 before halftime. ... The Rockets have scored an average of only 4.0 second-chance points over their last two games.

UP NEXT: For the Mavericks, Monday vs. Sacramento, Wednesday @ Boston, Friday @ Toronto. For the Rockets, Monday vs. San Antonio, Wednesday vs. Washington, Friday vs. Boston.