HOUSTON, Jan. 29 (Ticker) -- Dirk Nowitzki
scored 34 points and Michael
added 29 with a career-high seven three-pointers as the
Dallas Mavericks overwhelmed the Houston Rockets in the second
half en route to a 104-81 victory.
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Trailing 53-46 at halftime, the Mavericks outscored the Rockets
by a 37-16 margin in the third quarter and held them to 28
points in the second half.
"We had a good talk at the break," Nowitzki said. "They just
had way too many easy points in the first half, and too many
offensive boards. But we really started hitting some threes."
Finley, not chosen for the All-Star Game despite averaging 19.7
points for the NBA's best team, scored 18 points in the third
period. He hit four of Dallas' eight 3-pointers in the quarter
as the Mavs went 15-of-32 from the arc overall.
"I'm not here hold grudges for not being selected," Finley said.
"I felt that I was deserving, but it's more important for me to
help get wins for the team."
Rookie Yao Ming
, who is going to the All-Star Game, scored 20
points for Houston, but was held scoreless after his free throws
gave the Rockets their final lead at 64-63 with 7:52 left in
the third quarter.
The Mavs went up for good 19 seconds later on a 3-pointer by
that touched off a 17-2 run.
Spurred on by its barrage in the third quarter, Dallas matched
its own Compaq Center high in 3-pointers set in 1995. The Mavs
were 8-of-14 from behind the arc in the third.
"We were just beautiful in the second half," Mavericks coach Don
Nelson said. "We really started to wake up and make some
"It's pretty unbelievable," Yao said through an interpreter.
"They shoot a lot of threes, score a lot, and we have to be
prepared for that. Our biggest problem was on offense in the
second half, Our shooting percentage went down and we couldn't
get any rebounds."
After LaFrentz's 3-pointer gave Dallas a 66-64 lead, Finley
tallied 12 of the next 14 points. His 3-pointer with 3:10 to
play gave the Mavericks an 80-66 bulge.
"Finley was amazing. It was fun to watch him out there
tonight," Nowitzki said. "He really carried us when we needed
LaFrentz scored 12 points and Steve Nash added 10 for Dallas,
which shot 42 percent (36-of-85) from the field.
The Mavericks posted their fourth win in their last five and
clinched the season series against Houston for the first time
since the 1991-92 campaign.
netted 13 points while James Posey
each added 10 for Houston.
Francis shot a miserable 2-of-13 from the field.
"It's hard to stay focused when shots are going down like that,"
Francis said. "As much as people are going to say we didn't
play defense, our hands were in their face and they were just
knocking them down, big time."
The Rockets' awful second half followed an excellent first half.
Yao scored 16 points as Houston hit half its 40 shots en route
to a 53-46 edge at the break.
"The first half was the best we had all year," Rockets coach
Rudy Tomjanovich said. "We had good shots and created good
situations. We followed the game plan, both offensively and
"In the second half, we came out and Dallas spaced the floor to
take the threes," he continued. "It was a barrage, and they
made the shots. Now we see why they have the record that they
But the combination of a double-team on Yao and the Mavericks'
3-point onslaught proved unsettling in the second half, forcing
Houston to shoot 27 percent (10-of-27).