Houston, TX (Sports Network) – Dirk Nowitzki finished with 23 points and 12 rebounds as the Dallas Mavericks edged the Houston Rockets, 98-91, in overtime at Toyota Center.
“We really battled,” Rockets coach Rick Adelman said. “We did everything we could in the regulation and (the Mavericks) kind of took over in overtime, made plays but we give our guys credit. They went after it and just came up short.”
Shawn Marion and Jason Terry both posted 21 points for Dallas, which currently holds a half-game lead over the idle Los Angeles Lakers for the Western Conference’s second-seed with one game remaining. The Lakers still have two games left on their schedule.
“We are trying to get the number two seed,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. “We have to play better than this if we want to get it.”
Kevin Martin paced the Rockets with a game-high 28 points. Goran Dragic scored 15 with 10 rebounds and seven assists, while Chuck Hayes scored 10 with 12 boards in the loss, Houston’s third in four games.
Houston held a 73-67 lead after a Brad Miller bucket less than a minutes into the fourth quarter. The Mavericks slowly began to chip away, and an Ian Mahinmi three-point play with 6:47 remaining tied the game at 78.
Both teams went cold for the next three minutes before a pair of Martin free throws gave the Rockets the lead. The game went back-and-forth from there.
With 10.8 seconds remaining, Nowitzki fouled Courtney Lee on a layup and he made the Mavericks pay, knocking down the shot and the free throw to put Houston on top, 86-85. Dallas then called a timeout, and out of the break Terry was sent to the line with 1.5 ticks remaining. However, he only made 1- of-2 to send the game into the extra frame.
“We had a chance with (Terry) at the line and unfortunately he missed it,” Nowitzki said. “I thought our defense was good all game. We didn’t execute in the flow of the game and had too many turnovers. The stops down the stretch in overtime won us the game.”
Dallas took the lead to open the extra period with a Tyson Chandler dunk, and the Mavericks never trailed en route to their 56th win of the season.
Houston held a 23-20 lead after one and took a 47-43 lead into the break.
Lee and Miller both scored 12 off the Rockets’ bench…Chandler finished with eight points and 12 rebounds in the win…Houston played without Luis Scola (knee) and Kyle Lowry (foot)…The Mavericks went 18-of-20 from the foul line.