Entering the night, the Dallas Mavericks were off to a 5-0 start at home and were fifth in scoring (105.7). Four teams were scoring more than the Mavericks, and one of them, you could find in the visiting locker rooms inside American Airlines Center on Nov. 20…..the Houston Rockets.
In front of a national audience, the Rockets were looking to hand the Mavs their first home loss of the season on ESPN.
The Rockets entered play, second with 108.8 points per game and both teams were in the bottom 10 in points allowed. All four numbers are going up, after the Mavericks defeated Houston 123-120, erasing an 18-point third-quarter deficit and remaining undefeated at home.
Shawn Marion knocked down the go-ahead 3-pointer with 47 seconds left, and Jose Calderon hit two free throws before James Harden’s last-second shot came up short.
The game matched up two stars for each team as Harden and Dwight Howard pitted against the Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis. Needless to say, the latter two came out victorious.
Ellis is starting to be a nice consolation prize after Mark Cuban missed out on Howard. The shooting guard knocked down a season-high 37 points and dished out eight assists.
Houston entered the final quarter up 101-87 before Dallas would go on a 14-3 run in the first 5:12 of the period to trail 104-101 as the Rockets called a timeout. Patrick Beverley and Harden would knock down back-to-back threes to push it back to nine with 5:41 left to play.
Dallas would end the final 1:45 on a 7-1 run. The Mavericks found themselves down 119-114 after Howard knocked down one free throw. A jumper from Nowitzki and dunk from Marion would lead to another Rockets’ timeout.
Nowitzki scored a season-high 35 points, 14 of which came in the fourth, grabbed seven boards and recorded four dimes.
Chandler Parsons missed a layup out of the timeout before Marion’s corner-three shot. Harden had a chance to tie the game with nine seconds left, but missed the back end of the pair and Calderon hit two of his own before Houston’s last chance to tie it.
The Mavs outscored the Rockets 36-19 in the decisive final quarter.
Dallas is off to its best home start since the 2007-08 season.
Houston got off to a fast start, leading 40-29 after one, while shooting 75 percent from the field. The Mavericks won the second, but Houston still took a 68-61 lead into the break.
With 3:22 left in the third, Houston got out to its biggest lead, 93-75.
Nowitzki passed Reggie Miller for 15th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Coming at the 2:11 mark of the first half, Nowitzki swished in a free throw after the Rockets were called for defensive-three for his 17th point. The Big German got a nice ovation and now sits at 25,298, and is behind Kevin Garnett and Alex English (315) for 13th and 14th.
Howard had his best game as a Rocket, scoring 33 points on 12-of-16 shooting, including 9-of-13 from the line, and came down with 11 rebounds. Harden added 23, while Parsons finished with 21 points, five rebounds, four steals, and a career-high 11 assists.
Dallas is 8-4 and will host the Utah Jazz on Nov. 22 to close out its three-game homestand. The Mavericks will then play in Denver before returning home for four of the next five.
The Mavericks were 6-6 after 12 games last season.