What the Dallas Mavericks did in defeating the Houston Rockets on Friday night at the Toyota Center couldDwight serve as a classic case on how to exhibit short-term memory loss.

About 48 hours after getting pummeled at home by the New York Knicks by 30 points, the Mavs put that horrible loss in their rearview mirror and went out and hammered the Rockets, 113-100, in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score indicated. In winning for the 12th time in their last 15 games, the Mavs (41-26) led by as much as 29 points late in the third quarter before coasting to the finish line while displaying their dominance over their Interstate-45 rivals.

The Mavs overcame a slow start – they trailed 13-8 – then proceeded to stomp on the Rockets’ toes the rest of the game. With Dwight Powell scoring 20 of his career-high tying 26 points in the first half, and with Luka Doncic orchestrating the show, the Mavs were hellbent on proving that Wednesday’s 107-77 loss to the New York Knicks was nothing but an aberration which they quickly forgot.

“It felt like we lost (to the Knicks) by 50 and that we only scored 20 points, but we only gave up 107 points and we couldn’t score,” coach Jason Kidd said. “It happens.

“You can re-start the battery or re-start the car in a sense that the messaging of we’ve got to get back to playing defense (and) continue to keep sharing the ball. Sometimes things like that happens in sports and you have to turn the page.”

The Mavs turned the page in a very big way. Behind 10 points from Powell and nine more from Doncic, LukaDallas was nursing a 31-23 lead after the first quarter.

With Doncic perfectly executing three passes at the rim that Powell snatched out of the air and dunked, the Mavs’ lead mushroomed to 67-44 at intermission.

“I think Luka does a great job of reading the defenses, and obviously being such a scoring threat, he forces them into some tough decision-making situations,” Powell said. “He’s done a great job all year and his whole career of taking advantage of those situations.

“And tonight they were leaning heavily on him and he found ways to find us — and me especially early on — and gave me some good looks to start the game.”

As the runaway victory picked up traction, a couple of charity tosses by Doncic padded the Mavs’ cushion to 93-64 with 1:58 remaining in the third quarter as Dallas won for the 25th time in their last 33 games since Dec. 31.

“I thought the way that we came out after halftime — the talk of understanding that this game isn’t over — I thought they were business-like,” Kidd said. “They executed the game plan.

“We didn’t play the score. We were trying to get better, and I thought the guys — the group that started the second half — set the tone for us and gave us that (29-point) lead.”

Doncic sliced and diced his way to 30 points, 14 rebounds, six assists and two blocks, while Powell added 12 rebounds and a pair of blocks in registering his first double-double of the season. Spencer Dinwiddie started in place of Jalen Brunson – he missed the game with a right thigh contusion – and finished with 16 points, seven assists and two steals.

Meanwhile, Trey Burke hopped off the bench and fired in 15 points in just 22 minutes. And Josh Green started in place of Dorian Finney-Smith – he missed the game with a right arm contusion – and wound up with 10 points, six rebounds and four steals while supplying the Mavs with a whole lot of energy.Green

“Being able to start and give us almost 36 minutes tonight was big,” Kidd said of Green. “It’s just a part of his growth and his journey.

“He’s going to make some mistakes because he’s young. But his intent and his spirit is right, and he’s one of our energy guys and he was good tonight.”

The Mavs were comfortably ahead, 96-72, after the third quarter. However, with the Mavs’ backups in the game, the Rockets opened the fourth quarter on a 12-2 run to get within 98-84 of the Mavs.

But Doncic, Powell and Dinwiddie went back in and settled things down and sent the Rockets home with a 17-50 record.

The Rockets were led by Kevin Porter Jr. (17 points), Josh Christopher (17 points), and Bruno Fernando (16 points, 11 boards). But they just didn’t have enough firepower to contain the Mavs, who were on a mission  after what transpired against the Knicks.

“We learned from how we played against the Knicks knowing that it’s kind of getting down to the end of the season,” said Burke, who was 6-of-11 from the field. “It’s easier to kind of get tired right now, especially with us pretty much being in a good place playoff-wise, and just keeping our focus and keeping our foot on the gas.”

And in keeping their feet on the gas and guaranteeing they won’t have a losing record this season, the Mavs ran their worksheet this Spencerseason over the Rockets to a perfect 3-0.

“The focus is just to play hard and kind of bounce back from our last performance that wasn’t great,” Powell said. “I’m just trying to play hard every night and take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves.”

That laser-like focused the Mavs displayed against the Rockets enabled them to trail the Utah Jazz (41-25) by just half-a-game for the Western Conference’s No. 4 seed and home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

‘Right now, just to get at least to the fourth place — that’s our goal,” Doncic said. “To have home (court) advantage. But other than that, just play basketball.”

Twitter: @DwainPrice

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