- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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DALLAS – A pretty good way to get your tickets punched for the playoffs is to dominate on your home court.
All indications are that the Dallas Mavericks are going to be awfully hard to beat at the American Airlines Center this season.
It hasn’t happened yet. The Mavs are 6-0 at home after Wednesday night’s heart-pounding comeback win over the Houston Rockets. That puts Dallas in pretty good company. The Indiana Pacers, Chicago Bulls, San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder are the only other teams still undefeated at home this season.
This is the best season-opening home winning streak by the Mavs since 2007-08, when they also went 6-0 at the AAC to start the season. The Mavs won their first 12 home games in 2002-03 and their first 10 in 2003-04.
“For every team to get confident, you’ve got to win at home,” point guard Jose Calderon said. “The NBA is getting harder every day to win on the road, so if you can take care of these [home] games, it’s amazing. You beat a team like Houston, even more.”
Hundreds of fans in the sellout crowd didn’t stick around for the electrifying finish Wednesday night, departing when Dallas was down double digits early in the fourth quarter. The thousands who stuck around, however, made their presence felt during the Mavs’ rally.
Players in the locker room after the win talked about the fans giving the game a playoff vibe by standing and screaming down the stretch.
“The crowd really gave us a boost that last four and a half minutes in the fourth quarter,” said Monta Ellis, who played in front of a lot of empty seats the last season and a half in Milwaukee. “They got loud every time we scored and we just got pumped about it because we were getting stops, going to the other end and scoring and the crowd was going wild. They did give us a boost tonight.”
The Mavs are giving their home crowds ample reason to get excited.