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November 12, 2009

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Mavs stomp Rockets after terrible start

THE Dallas Mavericks recovered from a slow start to defeat their Texas rivals the Houston Rockets 121-103 on Tuesday.

Jason Terry made 7-of-8 field goals in scoring 24 points while Dirk Nowitzki added 23 to help the Mavericks overcome a 39-56 second-quarter deficit and claim their second straight win.

"We were just getting our tails kicked and the guys got angry and started playing a lot harder with a lot more purpose," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. "That turned it around."

Dallas outscored Houston 64-42 during the second half to improve to 5-2 this season and move into first place in the Southwest Division.

Elsewhere in the National Basketball Association, it was: Nuggets 90, Bulls 89; Magic 93, Bobcats 81; Heat 90, Wizards 76; Trail Blazers 93, Grizzlies 79; and Kings 101, Thunder 98.

In Dallas, Aaron Brooks led the way for Houston with 22 points while Carl Landry had 19 for the Rockets (4-3).

Forward Luis Scola scored 10 points in the first quarter as Houston opened up a 37-28 lead. The Rockets have impressed this season despite being without the injured pair Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady.

"It was fool's gold," said Rockets forward Shane Battier said.

"We sort of thought, 'well, all right, we'll be able to do that the rest of the game.' It doesn't work like that."

Dallas fought back with a 22-3 run that started before halftime and carried into the third quarter.

Mavericks reserve Jose Juan Barea scored eight of his 14 points in the final 2:20 of the third quarter, which ended with Dallas leading 83-74 advantage.

Center Erick Dampier made 20 rebounds and scored 14 points on 6-for-6 shooting while Josh Howard added 14 points in his second game back with the team after missing the first five with ankle and wrist injuries.

His return has coincided with a sharp improvement in Dallas' offense and it has passed 120 points in its last two games.

Winning jumper

In Chicago, Chauncey Billups hit the go-ahead free throw with six-tenths of a second left as the Denver Nuggets beat the Bulls 90-89 after a potential winning jumper by Brad Miller was overturned following a replay review.

Billups was fouled on a drive and then intentionally missed the second free throw after making the first to break the tie. Chicago's Joakim Noah grabbed the rebound.

After a timeout, Miller caught the inbounds pass from Kirk Hinrich and, in one motion, buried a jumper from the top of the key.

After a lengthy review, the officials ruled time had expired, and the Nuggets snapped a two-game losing streak.

Carmelo Anthony scored a season-low 20 points for Denver, while Billups added 17.

Derrick Rose led Chicago with 22 points, while Luol Deng scored 21, and Noah had a career-high 21 rebounds for the Bulls.


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