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Rapid Reaction: Mavs 116, Rockets 109

How it happened: The scoreboard read Mavericks vs. Rockets, but it may as well have said O.J. Mayo vs. James Harden. Mayo would win the individual battle to give the Mavs a team win.

Mayo tied a career high with 40 points, including 10 in the last three minutes to help the Mavs rally after they blew a big lead early. The Rockets led by as many as 11 in the fourth quarter, but Dallas reclaimed the lead, 102-101, on a Brandan Wright dunk with 4:18 left. Mayo's fifth 3-pointer of the night with 2:49 left helped the Mavs extend their lead to 107-101. The Rockets pulled within two with under a minute left, but Mayo drilled another 3 to seal the deal.

After slow starts on the first two games of the road trip, the Mavericks blistered the nets in the first quarter, making 15-of-22 shots and scoring 39 points to build 15-point lead. Mayo was 6-of-7 from the field for 16 points in the opening frame.

The Rockets erased that deficit in the second quarter behind Harden, who scored 19 of his 30 first-half points in the period, and took a 66-63 lead into halftime.

Mayo finished 15-of-26 from the field and 6-of-9 from behind the arc, while Harden ended up with 39 points and nine assists.

What it means: The Mavericks are back to .500 for the first time since Nov. 24 and have now won eight straight against Houston. The last time Dallas lost to the Rockets was Dec. 31, 2009. The Mavs won back-to-back games for the first time in more than a month. Houston had its home winning streak snapped at six.

Play of the game: Not sure if many people are interested in a Dahntay Jones poster, but he posterized Houston’s Patrick Patterson. Mayo stole a pass from Jeremy Lin and dropped it off to Jones, who went over the top of Patterson for an emphatic one-handed slam.

Stat of the night: The Mavericks had to use their 10th different starting lineup with Shawn Marion out because of a groin strain. That's the most in the NBA this season. Six of the last seven games between the Mavericks and Rockets have been decided by seven points or less.