DALLAS, Jan. 21 (Ticker) --
For the first time this season, the Dallas
Mavericks needed a win. The Houston Rockets appeared eager to
give them one.
NBA TV highlights from|
scored all 26 of his points over the final three
quarters and the Mavericks capitalized on 26 turnovers by the
Rockets to cruise to a 107-86 victory that snapped a three-game
The Mavericks have been setting the pace for the rest of the NBA
all season, winning their first 14 games and taking a 31-5 mark
into last week's showdown in Sacramento. But they lost that
game and ensuing road contests to Phoenix and Seattle, returning
home with their first slump of the season.
The friendly surroundings of the American Airlines Center
certainly helped. So did all the giveaways by the sloppy
Rockets, which the Mavericks turned into 30 points.
"We were just in a little slump," Nowitzki said. "Everyone was
a little flat the last couple of games. Nobody was running the
floor, being aggressive on defense. We just went back to a
layup drill out there. So today we wanted to make sure we were
aggressive on both ends of the floor and make things happen and
Nowitzki was scoreless in the first period but tallied 12 in the
second quarter. The first eight fueled an 11-2 burst early in
the period and the last four were part of a 14-1 explosion that
made it 57-34 with 2:38 left in the first half.
scored 20 points and Michael Finley
added 19 for
Dallas, which improved to 19-2 at home.
"We had a lot more energy defensively," Nash said. "We had a
lot more commitment and fire. We trusted each other and we were
really there for each other and that's how this team has to
play. That's how we played early on (this season) when we
played well defensively."
scored 26 points and Cuttino Mobley
added 16 for
the Rockets, who have lost two in a row since Friday's stirring
overtime victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.
"Everybody had miscues on a lot of plays," Francis said.
"Against a team that likes to run up and down the court and take
a lot of jump shots, you can't really do that because they'll
capitalize at the other end."
Francis committed six turnovers and rookie Yao Ming
The 7-5 Yao had just six points and five rebounds as Mavs coach
Don Nelson used 6-11 Raef LaFrentz
rather than 7-6 Shawn Bradley
to defend him.
Dallas took the lead for good at 24-23 on a basket by former
Rocket Walt Williams
with 2:15 left in the first quarter.
While Nowitzki was fueling the first spurt in the second
quarter, the Rockets committed three turnovers and fell behind,
41-29. LaFrentz's dunk capped the second run and made it 57-34
with 2:39 to go.
"We just didn't take care of the ball like we should have,
that's all," Mobley said. "I guess we were a little anxious."
Houston got no closer than 12 points thereafter. A pair of
3-pointers by Nowitzki made it 97-73 midway through the final
"I was a little broke in the first quarter," said Nowitzki, who
made 7-of-15 shots and 10-of-10 free throws. "I was just trying
to keep aggressive and get to the line a little bit. Hitting a
couple of free throws helped a little bit."
Williams scored nine points and LaFrentz added eight for the
Mavs, who shot 42 percent (36-of-86) but held the Rockets to
38.5 percent (25-of-65). Dallas made 27-of-28 free throws.
"Sometimes you have to find other ways to win when you don't
have your legs," said Nash, who had eight assists. "That's kind
of what we weren't able to do when we played these last three
games. We just didn't have a lot of energy or a lot of legs and
we didn't find another way to win."
grabbed 10 rebounds for Houston, which held a 46-37
advantage on the boards. The Rockets made 35-of-43 free throws
but just one 3-pointer.