How it happened: It took five extra minutes, but Jason Terry and the Mavericks finished the job.
Terry had 14 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter and overtime. That included a pull-up jumper with 36.5 seconds remaining that gave the Mavs the lead for good.
Lamar Odom, who was back in the Mavs lineup, finished with no points, two rebounds and no assists in 13 minutes of play.
The Mavs needed Terry to take over down the stretch because Dirk Nowitzki went cold after dominating most of the game. Nowitzki finished with a game-high 31 points on 10-of-20 shooting, but his last bucket came with 11:10 remaining in regulation.
Dallas had a great chance to end the game in regulation, but a team that won a title in large part due to its closing ability faltered in the final 10.9 seconds left. Nowitzki missed one of two free throws to leave the door cracked for the Rockets, who tied it up on a 3-pointer by rookie Chandler Parsons with 3.3 seconds remaining. Terry missed a good look at a 16-footer at the regulation buzzer, having to hurry the shot after Courtney Lee broke up an attempted alley-oop to Brandan Wright.
The Mavs didn’t exactly slam the door in overtime, either. The Mavs committed an eight-second violation -- blame Rodrigue Beaubois -- with 5.4 seconds remaining to give the Rockets one more crack to tie it up or win the game.
Chase Budinger missed an open 3 from the corner at the buzzer.
Wright played a huge role in the victory, scoring 14 points, grabbing six rebounds and blocking seven shots in 34 minutes off the bench.
What it means: The Mavs (28-22) halted a two-game losing streak to stay in the middle of the Western Conference playoff pack. They have tenuous possession of the fifth seed at the moment, tied with the Clippers at nine games back of Oklahoma City but with one more loss than Chris Paul and Co. The Rockets (26-23) dropped to ninth in the West standings.
Bold play of the game: Rockets rookie Chandler Parsons had a Clutch City kind of moment on Houston’s final possession of regulation. Parsons caught the ball about 27 feet from the hoop, pump-faked, put it on the floor once and pulled up over Jason Kidd for a game-tying 3-pointer with 3.3 seconds remaining.
Stat of the night: Dirk Nowitzki passed Charles Barkley for 19th place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Nowitzki has 23,758 points.