Rockets will test Mavericks' toughness

DALLAS -- No Yao Ming. No Tracy McGrady. No quit.

That sums up the Houston Rockets, who make an appearance at the American Airlines Center on Tuesday night. Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle calls the 4-2 Rockets "the hardest-playing team in the league."

"The challenge with Houston is to meet their level of intensity, posture, all those kinds of things," Carlisle said. "If you don't do that, they're going to kick your ass. That's what they've been doing to teams."

Becoming tougher was one of the Mavericks' offseason priorities. They believe they accomplished that with additions such as Shawn Marion, Quinton Ross and Drew Gooden, who hopes to make his return from a rib cage injury against the Rockets.

"We'll find out how tough we are on Tuesday night," Carlisle said. "I like our team and all that, but this is a different kind of test than we've had."