DALLAS, Nov. 21 (Ticker) --
Not even Yao Ming
could stop the Dallas
NBA TV highlights from|
scored 28 points and Dirk Nowitzki
added 24 as
the Mavericks overcame a stellar performance by the 7-5 rookie
and remained unbeaten with a 103-90 triumph over the Houston
The Mavs set a franchise record with their 12th straight win and
moved within three victories of tying the NBA mark for best
start, set by the 1948-49 Washington Capitols and matched by the
"I just think the longer the winning streak goes, the more
vulnerable you become because somewhere along the line someone
is going to get hot and you are going to get cold," Mavs coach
Don Nelson said. "It is kind of fun because you never know what
is going to happen. It could very well have ended tonight
because I thought they played really well. Again, we are just
having fun with it to see how long it will go."
Yao was dominant in 33 minutes off the bench, scoring a
season-high 30 points and grabbing 16 rebounds. He shot
10-of-12 from the field and the line and has made 31 of his last
35 shots (89 percent).
"I was definitely comfortable tonight," Yao said through an
interpreter. "From a technical standpoint I felt I was in the
"He's had great practices, doing things that you don't think a
guy his size can do," Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich said. "He's
got quickness and the guy has a heart. He does it at a really
even temperament, he loves the games and he is so unselfish.
Late in the game, he gets a 1-on-1 underneath and could have
gone for the points but passes the ball off to an open guy. He's
just a class player."
Often matched up with 7-6 center Shawn Bradley
aggressiveness and head fakes landed the slightly taller player
in foul trouble, and Bradley finished with no points and five
fouls in 20 minutes.
"We all knew Yao Ming was going to be good," Nelson said. "I
didn't think he was going to be good for two years, but he was
good tonight. He's got the whole package. All he needs to do
is learn a little bit about the way we play. Rudy has got him
running some simple things, using his strengths and staying away
from his weakness. And he is some factor."
took over for Bradley down the stretch and held
the No. 1 overall draft pick without a basket in the fourth
quarter. Najera finished with 12 points and a season-high 11
rebounds and gave the Mavs their biggest lead, 101-84, on a
reverse layup around Yao with 2:29 left.
"I guess what I did tonight was use my quickness against his
height and strength," Najera said. "It worked out pretty well.
What I was trying to do was stay between the ball and Yao Ming.
I knew if they were going to lob it that Dirk was behind me to
help me out."
Dallas took the lead for good, 64-62, on a jumper by Adrian
Griffin with 6:53 to play in the third quater that sparked a
11-0 run. Nowitzki capped the burst with a 3-pointer from the
right corner with 4:24 to go in the period.
scored 22 points and Glen Rice
had 16 for the
Rockets, who shot 41 percent (33-of-80) and allowed the Mavs to
connect at 49 percent (41-84).
"Tonight we couldn't really get other guys to hit shots that
they normally hit," Rice said. "That's going to happen from
time to time. The great thing about it is that we see that
there are openings. And when you have the big fellow rolling
like he was rolling, there's no way you can cover all the
grounds defending him."
Rice made 5-of-10 3-pointers but was one-upped by Finley, who
sank 6-of-8 to help Dallas shoot 62 percent from the arc
"I thought Finley was sensational," Nelson said. "I thought he
kept our heads above water when things weren't going well for
us. He always seemed to walk into a shot or make some sort of
sensational play and did it on both ends of the floor. I
thought he was good defensively tonight."
added 15 points and eight assists for the Mavs, who
foiled the Rockets' bid for a third straight win.
"They are really good, very hard to guard," Tomjanovich said.
"Everybody makes mistakes in a game. They're so good that if
you just miss an assignment or leave a guy open for a couple
feet, they're just nailing it. That's what they had today."
Dallas took a 49-46 halftime lead despite 21 points from Yao -
one more than his previous season high, set in Sunday's road win
over the Los Angeles Lakers.
"We played a subpar first half," Finley said. "They were going
into Yao a lot. In the second half we made some adjustments to
make it tougher on Yao and that's the reason we got the lead and