Game 12: Mavs vs. Rockets

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Postgame: Dirk Nowitzki

Mavs F Dirk Nowitzki weighs in on the big win over the rival Rockets, improving on defense, passing Reggie Miller on the all-time scoring list and more.

DALLAS — Move aside, Reggie Miller.

After passing the likeness for the NBA’s logo last Tuesday night while moving ahead of Los Angeles Lakers great Jerry West for 16th place on the league’s all-time scoring list, 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki set his eyes on yet another Hall of Famer on the historic list of great scorers.

Entering Wednesday night needing just 17 points to move ahead of Miller for 15th place, Nowitzki also hoped to avenge a 113-105 defeat in Houston on Nov. 1, welcoming in the Southwest Division rival Rockets to American Airlines Center. The 7-footer would then reach yet another milestone while seeing the Mavericks (8-4) overcome an 18-point deficit en route to a thrilling 123-120 victory, moving to 6-0 this season at home in the process.

“You know, obviously I didn’t think when I first got here that 15, 16 years later I’d be in the top 15 of scoring all time, so it’s great. It was a great night, but I’m really more happy about the win to be honest. It means more to me right now than any other records,” a modest Nowitzki said after helping to lead his team to the come-from-behind victory.

Seeking retribution from their road loss earlier in the month, the Mavs tried to take advantage of a Houston team on the second night of a back-to-back after the Rockets’ 109-85 home win over Boston on Tuesday. But the Rockets (8-5) would come out clicking on all cylinders, forcing a timeout by Mavs coach Rick Carlisle as his team fell into a 20-12 hole with 8:00 remaining in the opening period.

Scoring 11 first-quarter points apiece, Nowitzki and Mavs leading scorer Monta Ellis did their best to keep the home team in the game, before No. 41 was assessed a technical foul call with 30.2 seconds left in the period for arguing a foul call on Rockets swingman James Harden. The Rockets then slid into the second stanza with the Mavericks down 11, 40-29.

“They were on pace for a 60-point quarter at the eight-minute mark, and we knew they weren’t going to keep shooting it that way,” Carlisle explained. “But we also knew we had to step it up and make them feel us more than they were defensively. Gradually, we were able to do it.”

With rookie first-rounder Shane Larkin occupying the backup point guard role in just his second outing, the Mavs tried to make a charge early in the second quarter. Nowitzki then moved into a tie with Miller after earning a trip to the foul line with 8:54 left in the half, taking a seat a short time later and handing the scoring duties over to Larkin as the first-year pro quickly got into a rhythm from behind the 3-point line.

After an illegal defense call against All-Star center Dwight Howard, Nowitzki then took sole ownership of the 15th spot on the scoring list with a technical foul free throw with 2:11 left in the half. But the trio of Harden, Howard and sharpshooter Chandler Parsons would prove to be too much as the Mavs limped into the halftime intermission down seven, 68-61.

Postgame: Monta Ellis

Mavs G Monta Ellis discusses his monster game against the Rockets, how big the crowd was and more.

Despite 23 points from Ellis and 17 points for Nowitzki on a combined 15-of-21 shooting, the Rockets’ 68.4 percent shooting in the first half bettered the Mavs’ 59.5 percent through two quarters. Houston also held a 36-22 advantage in points in the paint up to the midway mark.

Coming out of the break reenergized, the Mavs would begin cutting into their deficit. But Howard would also begin to assert himself inside as the Rockets regained control, taking an 82-68 advantage with 6:34 left in the third. Carlisle then switched to a hack-a-Howard strategy, attempting to slow the game down with the big man making trips to the free-throw line to make it a 93-75 score with 3:36 left in the period.

Still, behind Howard’s supporting cast, the Rockets would take a 101-87 lead into the final 12 minutes of play.

Switching to a zone defense and in need of a spark on the offensive end, the Mavs would get it from the man of the night as Nowitzki’s back-to-back jumpers made it an eight-point deficit, 101-93, with 9:17 on the game clock. Ellis would take matters into his own hands from there, going on a scoring barrage and trimming the disadvantage to just three, 104-101, with 6:49 remaining on a transition score.

But out of a timeout the Rockets would get a 3-pointer from point guard Patrick Beverley. Harden followed suit, forcing a Carlisle timeout after putting the visiting team up nine with 5:41 left to play.

“We made some runs there in the third and in the fourth, but it seemed like they had an answer every time,” Nowitzki confessed. “You know, somebody would hit a big three … and it seemed like they had an answer every time. But we stuck together and we talked about it in the huddle and kept fighting. And you know, anything is possible.”

“You know, we cut it to three and then they went on a run and they got it back up over 10. It would have been easy to kind of drop our heads and stop playing, but these guys aren’t going to do that. They didn’t do it last time against these guys down there, even though we were getting beat pretty good. And tonight we hung in there and gave ourselves a chance,” Carlisle added.

However, a jumper by Nowitzki and a 3-pointer by starting point guard Jose Calderon would settle the Mavs down. A three by Nowitzki was then followed by a technical foul call on Howard with 2:54 left, allowing for the Mavericks to sneak within six, 112-106. Free throws by Ellis then made it a four-point game  with 2:42 still on the clock.

Postgame: Shawn Marion

Mavs F Shawn Marion talks about his defense against James Harden, his big 3-pointer in the fourth quarter, how big Dirk and Monta were and more.

Four-time All-Star Shawn Marion then overcame his own costly turnover, converting an end-to-end sequence that started with a block by Nowitzki on Howard and ended with Marion’s slam off Ellis’ assist to bring the Mavs within one, 119-118, with 1:20 remaining. Ellis then drove and kicked to Marion in the corner for a trey, giving the Mavericks a two-point edge.

And after Harden’s 1-of-2 trip to the foul line was proceeded by Calderon’s two free throws with 6.7 seconds left to go up three, Harden’s desperation three attempt would come up short of the rim to secure the comeback win for the Mavs.

Led by a season-high 37 points from Ellis on 13-of-18 shooting and season-high 35 points on 13-of-20 shooting for Nowitzki, the Mavericks staged the epic comeback behind their two superstars. Marion and Calderon were the only other Mavs in double figures with 13 points apiece.

“If me and Dirk are going like that, you know, the other teams have a problem,” Ellis said with confidence after also dishing out eight assists. “And not just because we’re going like that, but because that means they’re going to pay so much attention to us that it opens it up for Vince [Carter], Jose, Shawn and guys like that. It was good that we had the game that we had tonight, but it was a team effort. We had to grind, grind, grind and keep grinding to the last buzzer, and we came out with the win.”

“Monta and Dirk were a two-man show tonight,” Marion added. “They did what they needed to do, kept us in it all night, and when other guys got their opportunities to score we did it as well. But they led the way, and we followed their lead tonight.”

Howard led five Rockets in double figures with a seson-high 33 points on 12-of-16 from the field to go along with 11 rebounds. But the Mavs finished the night outshooting the Rockets, 58.3 percent to 55.3 percent, overcoming their 16 turnovers for 20 Houston points and a 56-36 disadvantage in points in the paint. The Dallas team also ended the game with a 36-30 rebounding edge led by starting center Samuel Dalembert’s 10 boards.

“We had it going tonight,” Ellis concluded. “We took our time and just took what the defense gave us. We fought hard as a team to get back, we got defensive stops when we needed to and we came out with the win.”

Note: The Mavs conclude their three-game homestand Friday night against the Utah Jazz, beginning a back-to-back that wraps up in Denver. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 7:30 p.m. CT. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting

Rockets vs. Mavericks

Monta Ellis scores 37 points and Dirk Nowitzki adds 35 as the Mavericks take the win over the Rockets, 123-120.


All Stats

C. Parsons, F 37 7-10 4-5 3-4 1 4 5 11 4 0 2 3 5 21
T. Jones, F 32 8-13 1-3 1-1 1 1 2 2 0 0 2 2 3 18
D. Howard, C 36 12-16 0-0 9-13 3 8 11 1 0 0 1 3 1 33
J. Harden, G 42 6-14 2-8 9-11 0 1 1 8 0 0 1 4 3 23
P. Beverley, G 36 3-9 3-8 0-0 1 1 2 3 4 0 2 3 -1 9
J. Lin 16 0-5 0-3 1-2 0 1 1 4 0 1 0 1 -10 1
O. Casspi 15 5-5 1-1 0-0 1 2 3 0 1 0 1 3 -4 11
O. Asik 11 0-0 0-0 1-2 1 4 5 0 0 1 1 3 -4 1
F. Garcia 10 1-4 1-3 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 -8 3
R. Brewer 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
A. Brooks 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
I. Canaan 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
R. Covington 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
D. Motiejunas 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
G. Smith 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
TEAM   42-76 12-31 24-33 8 22 30 29 9 2 11 23   120
    55.3% 38.7%                      

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All Stats

S. Marion, F 34 5-8 2-2 1-1 1 3 4 2 1 0 1 2 -8 13
D. Nowitzki, F 33 13-20 2-5 7-7 1 6 7 4 1 1 1 3 6 35
S. Dalembert, C 31 1-3 0-0 4-4 2 8 10 0 0 4 2 5 -5 6
M. Ellis, G 40 13-18 2-4 9-12 0 2 2 9 2 0 3 4 2 37
J. Calderon, G 29 4-8 3-5 2-2 0 1 1 2 1 0 2 3 -1 13
V. Carter 25 2-7 0-3 5-7 1 4 5 5 2 0 1 2 5 9
J. Crowder 12 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 3 0
D. Blair 16 1-2 0-0 0-0 1 1 2 2 0 0 1 4 6 2
S. Larkin 16 3-5 2-3 0-0 1 3 4 2 2 0 4 2 7 8
W. Ellington 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
D. Harris 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
B. James 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
R. Ledo 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
G. Mekel 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
B. Wright 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
TEAM   42-72 11-22 28-33 7 29 36 26 9 5 15 26   123
    58.3% 50.0%                      

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DALLAS — After seeing first-hand how patent the Houston Rockets’ lineup is this season while falling to a 113-105 road defeat on Nov. 1, the Dallas Mavericks admit that a great challenge awaits them Wednesday night.

Seeking retribution for that loss earlier this month, the Mavericks (7-4) will try to even the four-game season series with their Southwest Division rival in the second matchup of a three-outing homestand. The Mavs will also attempt to contain the Rockets’ high-octane attack led by All-Stars James Harden and Dwight Howard.

“It’s a lofty challenge no matter how you cut it,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said of Wednesday night’s matchup. “They’ve got a lot of hot players on that team. I mean, [Jeremy] Lin is the second-leading scorer, Harden is the leading scorer and Howard is the third-leading scorer. And so they’ve got a lot of artillery, and it’s challenging ’cause you have to get back in transition and then you’ve got to keep them in front of you, because they’re a great driving team. And then they shoot the heck out of the three, so it’s a lot of challenges and then scoring at the other end is tough, because of Howard’s presence in the lane.”

Surrendering a game-high 34 points to Harden in that early-season loss to the Rockets (8-4), the Mavs will now try to contain the elusive swingman while also limiting Howard inside. That places more importance on the play of center Samuel Dalembert, who is expected to slide back into the starting lineup after Carlisle’s decision to go small to begin Monday night’s 97-94 win over Philadelphia.

And while expecting to anchor the Dallas defense in one of its toughest challenges of the season to this point, Dalembert will try to led the charge to help the Mavs avenge their previous defeat.

“As we work on our defensive scheme I’m just going to have to limit the penetration from Harden and then run back fast enough to get Dwight,” Dalembert said of his plan entering the showdown. “It’s going to be a long night for me. … We’re playing them at home, and we owe them one. They’re a three-point shooting team, penetrating and rebounding team, so we’ve got our work cut out for us tonight.”

Note: The Mavs continue their three-game homestand Wednesday night against the Houston Rockets. The Rockets lead the season series 1-0 after handing the Mavs a 113-105 road loss on Nov. 1. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest and nationally on ESPN at 8:30 p.m. CT. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting


DALLAS — After rolling out the same starting lineup for 10 consecutive outings to start the season, Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle quickly learned the value of first-string center Samuel Dalembert in Monday night’s outing against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Moving Dalembert to the bench in favor of second-year forward Jae Crowder, Carlisle’s small-ball strategy would admittedly backfire as the Mavericks (7-4) missed their first eight shot attempts while quickly falling behind. However, the coach would make the proper adjustments, beginning the second half with Dalembert back in the first unit and utilizing the big man’s eight points and 14 rebounds to seize a 97-94 victory.

“I didn’t like the matchups to start the game,” Carlisle confessed as the Mavs began their three-game homestand, “but we didn’t play well and they played harder than us. I felt starting the second half we needed the length. Sam came in and we were having trouble rebounding. The lineup to start the game didn’t work out, but we just had to keep searching. And by the time the game was over we had played 11 guys, and everybody that played contributed.”

Facing the likes of All-Star center Dwight Howard and scoring threat James Harden, the Mavs will again need everyone to contribute Wednesday night against the Houston Rockets. They’ll also try to avenge a 113-105 road loss on Nov. 1, looking to even the four-game season series at a win apiece.

In that previous meeting the Rockets (8-4) had five players score in double figures led by Harden’s 34 points on 11-of-17 shooting from the field and 4-of-8 from the 3-point line. Howard also added 13 points and 16 rebounds inside as the Rockets outshot the Mavs, 46.6 percent to 38 percent, in addition to a 51-43 rebounding advantage.

The Mavs also couldn’t capitalize off the Rockets’ 23 turnovers, converting the giveaways into 18 points at the other end while committing just 14 turnovers themselves, which led to 18 points for Houston.

In front of a national audience Wednesday night, however, the Mavericks hope to see a different conclusion, trying to improve to 6-0 at American Airlines Center for the first time since winning their first six at home during the 2007-08 campaign.

“We weren’t great down there,” 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki confessed. “We didn’t shoot the ball well down there, and it’s tough on the road if you shoot 37 or 38 percent. Hopefully we have a better night here, and defensively Harden really sliced us up. He had a great game, and what makes him tough is his drives to the basket. But he was shooting threes from two feet behind the line, so he had a great game against us. We’ve got to make sure we contain him a little bit better.”

“This is a higher profile game, because of who the opponent is. They’ve got two superstar players, and they’re considered to be a top-five team in the league. We didn’t play very well down there. A lot of that had to do with how good they are, and so we’ve got to do a lot of things better,” Carlisle concluded.  “The priorities for us are avoiding catastrophic turnovers and being better with transition defense. I mean, those two things right now are preventing us from being the defensive team we need to be. We’ve gone from 29th in the league the first week of the season. We’re up to 13th, and our catastrophic turnovers are keeping us from being in the top 10. Ball security has a lot to do with that, and we’ve got to help our offense work for our defense instead of the other way around.”

Note: The Mavs continue their three-game homestand Wednesday night against the Houston Rockets. The Rockets lead the season series 1-0 after handing the Mavs a 113-105 road loss on Nov. 1. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest and nationally on ESPN at 8:30 p.m. CT. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting



Dirk has 25,263 career points and needs 17 points to pass Reggie Miller (25,279) for 15th place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Kevin Garnett currently ranks 14th with 25,336 points.

Vince Carter has 1,679 career triples and needs three treys to tie Lakers guard Steve Nash (1,682) for 10th place on the NBA’s all-time 3-point field goals made list. Former Maverick Dale Ellis ranks ninth all-time with 1,719 career 3-pointers. Carter needs 21 triples for 1,700 in his career.

Monta Ellis has 2,497 assists and needs three assists for 2,500 in his career.

DeJuan Blair has appeared in 299 games and needs one for 300 in his career.

The Mavericks are averaging a league-high 10.00 steals per game this season. Dallas has never finished a season ranked higher than fourth in the league in steals per game (ranked 4th in 2004-05 with 8.63 spg and 4th in 2011-12 with 8.56 spg).