Game 47: Mavs vs. Rockets

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Dirk’s 26,000 Point

Dirk Nowitzki scores his 26,000 point of his career.

DALLAS — A golden opportunity sat within the Dallas Mavericks’ grasp Wednesday as they looked to seize the season series against the Southwest Division rival Houston Rockets.

Attempting to down the Rockets for a third time this season, the Mavericks stepped into American Airlines Center for the second outing of their four-game homestand. Meanwhile, the Rockets came to town with tired legs and without the services of their leading scorer, taking the court minus guard James Harden (bruised thumb) for the second straight night following Tuesday’s 97-90 home win over San Antonio.

But, unlike their Dec. 23 matchup in Houston when the Mavs captured a 123-120 victory without Harden in the lineup, the Rockets (31-17) would prove to be up to the challenge. And after handing the Mavericks (26-21) a 117-115 defeat, the Rockets captured their first win in the last eight trips to Dallas.

“The defense was horrible all night,” 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki admitted after the loss. “I mean, every time down somebody was in the paint, laying the ball up or in transition, drives or pick-and-roll plays. I mean, if you give up 117 at the house, you’re going to lose.”

The Rockets would throw the first haymakers of the night, beginning the game with a 7-2 spurt. The Mavs also found themselves quickly without starting center Samuel Dalembert, as the big man was forced to sit after picking up his second foul with 10:00 remaining in the opening period while defending Rockets center Dwight Howard inside.

Hoping to be named to his 12th All-Star team on Thursday, Nowitzki took matters into his own hands, powering the home team back into the game. But not even Nowitzki’s 11 first-quarter points and an additional 11 points for backup big man DeJuan Blair could keep the Mavs from trailing 32-30 after 12 minutes of play.

Behind the above-the-rim play of center Brandan Wright, the Mavericks attempted to stage a rally in the second stanza. However, the visiting Houston team wouldn’t cool down, pushing the margin between the two teams to as many as nine. And even after Nowitzki’s three-point play with 1:06 left in the first half to eclipse 26,000 points for his career, the Mavericks looked up to see a 63-57 deficit on the scoreboard as they entered the locker room at the intermission.

Despite Nowitzki’s 18 first-half points on 7-of-9 shooting, the Rockets outshot the Mavericks through two quarters of play, 63.2 percent to 50 percent. Houston also overcame a 21-18 rebounding disadvantage and 10 Dallas points off the Rockets’ eight turnovers at the midway mark.

With his team unable to contain Howard in the painted area, Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle was forced to burn a timeout after falling behind by 10 with 11:04 remaining in the third quarter. Nowitzki then began to will his team back into the game, leading an 18-6 run to tie the score at 75-all with 5:08 left in the third.

But, after a flagrant-one foul call on sixth man Vince Carter for a shot to Donatas Motiejunas, the Mavericks would surrender a 9-2 run with Nowitzki on the bench. The Rockets then slid into the fourth period with a 91-85 lead.

Despite Nowitzki’s best efforts, the Rockets would keep the Mavs at a safe separation during the early minutes of the fourth. The Mavericks then took a blow when starting 2-guard Monta Ellis picked up his fifth personal foul with 9:07 remaining, limiting his attacking ability.

Carlisle then turned to a third-guard lineup of Jose Calderon, Devin Harris and Ellis, looking to speed up the tempo in an effort to stage a comeback. The move would be short-lived, however, as the Rockets continued to counter by attacking the rim themselves, forcing another Carlisle timeout after Jeremy Lin’s driving score made it a 104-95 margin with 5:01 left to play.

However, even after Carlisle’s hack-a-Howard strategy proved to be unsuccessful, the Mavericks still held out hope for a rally following Harris’ 3-of-3 trip to the foul line with 1:37 remaining after a foul by Patrick Beverley on an attempt from behind the arc to pull within six. A 3-pointer by Carter followed, leading to consecutive defensive stops at the other end of the floor. And after Nowitzki’s two free throws completed an 11-1 Dallas run, the Mavericks found themselves within two, 117-115, with 22.2 seconds still on the game clock.

The Dallas defense stiffened from there, regaining possession after Calderon forced the ball out on Beverley in the backcourt with 19.9 seconds remaining. But, after working the ball to Nowitzki and getting it back, Calderon would misfire on two potential game-winning 3-pointers down the stretch, securing the win for the Rockets in the process.

“We kept fighting,” Calderon later said. “We knew it was some tough plays. We couldn’t get a stop for one part of the fourth quarter, but we kept on fighting till the end. We got the shots at the end and we couldn’t make it, but we shouldn’t put ourselves in that situation. To be able to win this game, I think we made too many mistakes.”

Finishing with 38 points on 13-of-21 shooting to become just the 13th player in NBA history to compile 26,000 career points, Nowitzki also snatched down a season-high 17 rebounds.

“I always said numbers don’t mean anything in a loss. It really means nothing. We should have found a way to kind of win this one,” a disappointed Nowitzki said.

Carter added 22 points off the bench, Harris pitched in 14 points and Blair recorded 13 points in a reserve role to give the Mavericks four scorers in double figures. The Mavs also scored 19 points off the Rockets’ 18 turnovers in the loss.

Meanwhile, the Rockets finished with seven scorers in double figures led by 26 points on 9-of-17 shooting by Chandler Parsons. The Rockets also outshot the Mavericks on the night, 55.4 percent to 46.5 percent, adding a 42-41 rebounding edge, 18 points off Dallas’ 14 turnovers and 56 points in the paint.

“We gave ourselves a chance, which was great, but the first 46 minutes or whatever it was were not good,” Carlisle concluded after the loss. “It’s a lot of the same problem — keeping people in front of us and giving up too many layups. We’ve got to do better.”

Note: The Mavericks return to American Airlines Center on Friday against the Sacramento Kings, playing the third outing of a four-game homestand. The Kings lead the season series 1-0 after handing the Mavs a 112-97 road loss back on Dec. 9. 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


All Stats

C. Parsons, F 38 9-17 2-6 6-9 1 3 4 5 1 0 2 5 1 26
T. Jones, F 31 7-10 0-0 2-4 2 3 5 1 2 0 2 5 -2 16
D. Howard, C 35 6-10 0-0 9-11 0 5 5 1 1 1 4 4 -3 21
J. Lin, G 37 8-14 2-3 0-0 1 6 7 7 1 0 2 3 1 18
P. Beverley, G 36 3-8 3-6 2-2 0 4 4 4 1 0 5 5 -9 11
D. Motiejunas 25 4-5 0-0 4-6 4 9 13 0 0 0 1 4 5 12
O. Casspi 12 1-3 0-1 0-0 2 0 2 2 0 0 0 1 5 2
A. Brooks 22 3-7 2-5 3-4 0 2 2 4 2 0 1 2 12 11
R. Brewer 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
O. Asik 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
F. Garcia 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
J. Harden 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   41-74 9-21 26-36 10 32 42 24 8 1 17 29   117
    55.4% 42.9%                      

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All Stats

S. Marion, F 28 3-10 0-1 0-0 5 2 7 1 1 0 2 3 -2 6
D. Nowitzki, F 35 13-21 1-3 11-11 4 13 17 3 0 0 2 1 6 38
S. Dalembert, C 11 1-2 0-0 0-0 1 2 3 0 0 1 0 3 1 2
M. Ellis, G 31 3-10 0-1 0-0 1 0 1 5 2 0 4 5 3 6
J. Calderon, G 36 2-12 2-7 2-3 1 2 3 5 1 1 0 3 5 8
D. Blair 23 5-9 0-0 3-3 0 5 5 0 1 1 1 3 0 13
V. Carter 25 5-9 2-4 10-11 0 3 3 3 0 1 3 3 -2 22
J. Crowder 10 0-1 0-1 0-2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 -12 0
D. Harris 24 5-8 0-2 4-6 0 1 1 3 0 0 1 5 -6 14
B. Wright 11 3-4 0-0 0-0 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 1 -3 6
W. Ellington 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
S. Larkin 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
TEAM   40-86 5-19 30-36 13 28 41 20 5 4 14 29   115
    46.5% 26.3%                      

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Dirk’s 26,000 Point

Dirk Nowitzki scores his 26,000 point of his career.


Dalembert Block

Sammul Dalembert stuffs Patrick Beverley at the rim.


Postgame: Dirk Nowitzki

Mavs F Dirk Nowitzki talks about the final sequence against the Rockets Wednesday night, being able to fight back and give themselves a chance to win and more.


Wright Jam

Brandan Wright slams home a Vince Carter pass.


Dirk And-one

Dirk Nowitzki schools Jeremy Lin.


Practice Report: Dirk Nowitzki

Mavs F Dirk Nowitzki weighs in on his efficient production of late, how he expects the Rockets to defend him Wednesday night, his goal of making the playoffs this year and much more.


Shootaround: Shawn Marion

Mavs F Shawn Marion makes his Super Bowl pick, looks ahead to Wednesday's game against the Rockets and more.


Shootaround: Rick Carlisle

Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle previews Wednesday night's matchup against the Rockets, Devin Harris' minutes, defending Dwight Howard and more.

Dirk goes for 38 points and a season-high 17 rebounds in loss to Rockets.

DALLAS — Despite already claiming one win this season against the Houston Rockets without scoring threat James Harden in the lineup, the Dallas Mavericks know they’ll have to play well in order to do so again Wednesday should Harden be sidelined.

Tuesday, the Rockets (30-17) improved to 5-2 without Harden in the lineup, collecting a 97-90 home win over San Antonio as center Dwight Howard totaled 23 points and 16 rebounds. And with Harden’s availability unclear for Wednesday’s outing as he deals with a bruised thumb, the Mavericks (26-20) will try to claim the season series with their Southwest Division rival by replicating a 111-104 road win on Dec. 23 when he also was sidelined due to injury.

“You know, regard of who’s available, they’re going to be a team that’s going to be very, very good,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said with a great amount of respect for the Rockets. “I know Harden sat out last night. I expect that he’ll play tonight, but whoever they put out there, they’ve got a lot of good guys.

“They’re really good with him and they’re really good without him, so there’s no bargain either way. If he’s not out there, then Howard is going to touch the ball 40 times in the post. What’s the bargain there? It’s just tough either way, so we’ve got to prepare for all scenarios. And you’re talking about two great players and two guys that will be on the All-Star team, without question.”

With or without Harden on the floor, the Mavericks will attempt to limit Howard inside after allowing the big man to average 25 points and 14 rebounds in the first three meetings between the two teams. The Mavs will also try to get off to a better start, outscored 104-71 in the first quarter of the three previous meetings this season.

And with hopes of a better start to the night, the Mavs will try to prevent the Rockets from capturing their first win in eight trips to the American Airlines Center.

“I think we have to play better to start the game at both ends,” Carlisle confessed. “You know, they’re a dynamic team. And if you let them get a quick and early start and have to play from behind, it’s hard. We want to avoid that, but it’s 48 minutes. So, regardless of what is happening, you have to stay the course and play to your strengths. You know, that’s what we want to do tonight.”

Note: Playing the second outing of their four-game homestand, the Mavericks return to American Airlines Center on Wednesday against the Houston Rockets. The Mavs lead the season series 2-1. 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

DALLAS — After making quick work of the Detroit Pistons to begin their four-game homestand, the Dallas Mavericks will try to claim the season series against one of their Southwest Division rivals Wednesday night.

Looking to build off Sunday’s 116-106 win over the Pistons, the Mavericks (26-20) will now welcome in the Houston Rockets to American Airlines Center. And while trying to claim the season series against the Rockets 3-1, the Mavs hope to continue to make up for their lackluster 1-2 road trip last week.

“We need this homestand to really get some momentum again and get some wins together,” 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki explained. “It was definitely a good way to start. … It’s been a really, really tough stretch and we dropped some games that we feel like we should have had. It is what it is, but now we’ve got to move forward and use this homestand.”

“I mean, we want to protect home,” sixth man Vince Carter echoed. “I think we’ve played decent basketball at home, and there’s an opportunity for us to make up for the rough three-game road trip. I think we’ve played pretty good basketball and we just haven’t closed some games out. This was a great opportunity to kick off our homestand the right way.”

The Mavs will try to keep the momentum going Wednesday, looking to contain Houston’s high-octane attack, which could be without scoring assassin James Harden.

Harden sat out the Rockets’ 97-90 home win Tuesday over San Antonio due to a bruised thumb. With the win, the Rockets (30-17) improved to 5-2 without Harden this season, but one of those losses came at the hands of the Mavericks, when the Dallas team rallied from a seven-point halftime deficit to capture a 111-104 road win on Dec. 23 led by Nowitzki’s 31 points.

Now, with Harden’s status for Wednesday’s outing unclear and the Rockets held below 100 points in each of their last three games, the Mavericks hope to capture a quality win on their own floor while seizing the season series.

“It’s usually a very opened-up game,” Nowitzki said. “[The Rockets] love going up and down. They take quick shots, and that obviously is a lot of possessions for both teams. It’s been fun games and close games. It feels like we’ve played them eight times this year already. You know, this is our fifth time, including the one in the preseason, so both teams obviously know what each other are doing and it’s a fun challenge.

“We’ve been struggling a little bit against teams above us or even in the Eastern Conference (against) teams that have a better record. I think we have a losing record against those teams, so any game that we can win against those teams is big and is a confidence builder. If you look at the (playoff) race, we can’t really afford to lose any games, so it would be another huge win for us and we’d get the tiebreak. They’re only a couple games ahead of us, so it’s a big game and it’s a fun game.”

Note: Playing the second outing of their four-game homestand, the Mavericks return to American Airlines Center on Wednesday against the Houston Rockets. The Mavs lead the season series 2-1. 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

Dirk Nowitzki ranks 13th all-time in career scoring with 25,984 points. He needs 16 points to become the 13th player in NBA history to reach the 26,000-point mark.


Nowitzki has shot 6,349-of-7,230 (.878) from the line for his career is currently tied with Charles Barkley (6,349) for 12th place on the NBA’s all-time free throws made list. Nowitzki needs just one free throw to take sole possession of 12th place on the all-time free throws made list. Allen Iverson ranks 11th all-time in career made free throws with 6,375.


Shawn Marion currently ranks 36th all-time in career rebounds with 9,693. He needs six boards to pass Bob Lanier (9,698) for 35th place on the NBA’s all-time rebounding list. Johnny “Red” Kerr ranks 34th all-time in career rebounds with 10,092.


Marion has 1,692 career steals and needs eight thefts to become the 19th player in NBA history with at least 1,700 steals. Marion has 1,194 career blocks and needs six rejections to become the 52nd player in NBA history with at least 1,200 blocks.