Mavericks Bounce Back, Edge Houston

By Darreck Kirby
PSDC Dallas Mavericks Beat Writer

The Dallas Mavericks have yet to lose three straight in the 2013-2014 season, and the fact that they avoided that Monday night in Houston was a surprising development to say the least. The 16-12 Mavs had their leader and face of the franchise, Dirk Nowitzki to thank for Monday’s upset over the now 18-11 Rockets. Nowitzki scored 31 points including 10 in the fourth to lead Dallas to a 111-104 victory. But Nowitzki isn’t ready to suggest he’s playing as well as he did in 2011 when he carried the Mavs to their first and only NBA title.

“Hopefully I can light it up a couple more years and then slowly fade away,” Dirk said with a wide grin.

Photo Credit: Dallas Morning News

Photo Credit: Dallas Morning News

Head Coach Rick Carlisle isn’t surprised by his power forward’s efficiency, however. “He’s the great Dirk Nowitzki,” Carlisle said. “He’s one of the great players in the history of the game.”

Dirk’s performance Monday also saw him pass Alex English for 13th on the NBA’s all time scoring list at 25,629 career points.

Houston cut Dallas’ lead to six with a little over three minutes to play but Dirk answered with back-to-back buckets to push the lead back out to 10. Houston coach Kevin McHale voiced his frustration after the game at his team’s inability to slow down the big German.

“We tried a bunch of different stuff,” McHale said. “We tried showing and coming back. We tried staying on there. We tried running at him. Nothing seemed to work.”

McHale is hardly the first to feel that way about guarding Dirk, but thanks to Dwight Howard’s 29-point, 15-rebound performance he almost didn’t need to. Houston outscored Dallas in the paint 60-32, but the Mavs held the edge from distance, netting 11 three pointers to hold the Rockets at bay.

The noticeable difference in Monday’s game was the absence of Houston star James Harden who missed his second straight game with a sprained ankle. Even still the win was a huge feather in the Mavericks’ cap, righting the ship that had oddly felt off course since their stunning victory in Portland almost two weeks prior. But will they use this victory as the launching pad the Portland game should have been? Only time will tell.

For more news and updates on the Dallas Mavericks, follow Darreck on Twitter @DarreckWKirby

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