Mavs overcome 45 by McGrady

Associated Press
Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki celebrates after hitting a 3-point goal. He had 30 points in the Mavericks' victory over the Rockets.

Mavericks 109, Rockets 96


DALLAS - Dirk Nowitzki and Devean George each sparked crucial rallies with consecutive 3-pointers, helping the Dallas Mavericks overcome 45 points by Tracy McGrady in a 109-96 victory over the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night.

McGrady scored 21 points in the first quarter and had 29 at halftime. He made a 3-pointer that put Houston up 65-52 midway through the third quarter, but it couldn't last.

George answered with a pair of 3s, sparking a 15-2 run that let Dallas tie it. A few minutes later, Nowitzki powered a 20-4 run that he finished off with back-to-back 3s, celebrating each with gusto.

Nowitzki, who was named the conference player of the week earlier in the day, had 30 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Josh Howard added 28 points and George scored 14 with six assists. Jerry Stackhouse scored 13.

Dallas avenged a 31-point loss at Houston earlier this season and tightened its claim as the hottest team in Texas.

The Mavericks have won five straight games and 18 of 19. The Rockets had won four in a row and nine of 10.

McGrady scored Houston's first 12 points and 16 of 18, but obviously couldn't keep it up. Problem was, his roll prevented any of his teammates from getting into a groove.

No other Rockets player had more than a single basket until there was 1:51 left until halftime.

McGrady topped his season high a few minutes into the third quarter, but by then the Mavericks were mixing up his defenders and sending different guys at him on double teams. He wound up heading for the bench with 2:14 left and went to the locker room with more than a minute to play.

McGrady may have just needed to ice his shooting arm after going 17 of 29. He also had a team-high seven assists and added five rebounds.

The rest of the Rockets made just as many baskets (17) but needed 46 shots.



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