Dallas, TX (Sports Network) – Dirk Nowitzki scored a game-high 20 points, Caron Butler had 19 and red-hot Dallas continued its winning streak with a 101-91 victory over Houston.
Shawn Marion added 14 points and 10 rebounds as the Mavericks won their sixth straight game and for the 10th time in their last 12. Nowitzki also had 10 rebounds in the win and Jason Kidd scored eight points with 11 assists.
Kevin Martin scored 17 points to lead the Rockets, who lost for the sixth time in eight games.
The Southwest Division rivals kept the game close until Dallas opened the second half with a 20-9 run.
DeShawn Stevenson and Kidd hit three-pointers during the run and Butler ended it with a driving jumper, giving the Mavericks a 72-54 lead with 5:05 left in the third quarter.
The Rockets trimmed their deficit to 12 points, heading to the fourth down 83-71, but they wouldn’t be closer than that until the final minute of the game.
The reason? Dallas opened the last quarter with a 12-2 run, keyed by four points apiece from Nowitzki and Marion, and never looked back.
“Everybody is coming into their own a little bit right now and we’re really supporting each other and we’re holding each other accountable when we need to,” Marion said of his team’s chemistry. “We’re playing as a complete team right now and we’re competing at a high level.”
Dallas had a lead of four points in the first quarter on a Stevenson jumper, but trailed 26-25 heading into the second.
The Mavericks used a 9-0 lead near the end of the first half to take control. Tyson Chandler started the burst with a pair of free throws and Marion ended it with a dunk to make it 51-44.
Dallas protected the seven-point lead and ended the half with a 52-45 advantage behind 12 points from Nowitzki. Houston shot just 34 percent in the half.
Houston has lost eight of its last 11 games in Dallas…Dallas shot 49.4 percent from the field, while the Rockets made just 35.8 percent…Though the game wasn’t close at the end, there were 17 lead changes and nine ties.