Mavs make it six in a row behind Nowitzki's 31

DALLAS (AP) -- While Dirk Nowitzki hit the go-ahead shots, it was
the spark from Jason Terry that allowed the Dallas Mavericks to
avoid a big letdown and stay undefeated at home.

"J.T. got it going, and that really carried over," guard Devin
Harris said. "And Dirk was Dirk."

Nowitzki scored 31 points and made a 12-foot turnaround jumper
with six minutes left that put Dallas ahead to stay, and Terry had
29 in the Mavericks' sixth straight victory, 102-93 over the
Houston Rockets on Tuesday night.

A dozen of Terry's points came in the spurt that finally gave
Dallas its first lead, and he also assisted on Nowitzki's first
go-ahead basket. After driving to the goal, Terry passed back to
Nowitzki for a 3-pointer that made it 56-55 with 9:28 left.

"It was big as far as momentum. It gave us some energy," Terry
said of his impressive eight-minute stretch that was interrupted by

Playing for the first time since beating previously undefeated
Detroit by 37 points Saturday night, when they scored 40 points in
the first quarter, the Mavericks (8-2) got off to a poor start
against Houston.

Even with Tracy McGrady missing his second straight game (and
fifth this season) because of a strained back, the Rockets never
trailed in the first half. Houston led 50-38 with 2:48 left in the

Terry then scored eight of Dallas' final 10 points before
halftime, with a 3-pointer, a steal and a driving layup in a
14-second spurt, and helped get the Mavericks within 53-48.

Two minutes after assisting on Nowitzki's 3-pointer, Terry had a
driving layup that put Dallas up 63-58, and ended a wild sequence.
Terry passed to Erick Dampier, who missed an inside shot, then lost
his headband in the scuffle for the rebound before recovering and
driving for the basket.

"Jason was looking to score, looking aggressive," coach Avery
Johnson said. "I would like to see that consistently. I don't want
him passing up his shot."

Dallas never trailed again, but the Rockets caught up at 86-all
on Derek Anderson's 15-footer with 6:31 left. That ended a 12-5 run
that was started by rookie Luther Head hitting 3-pointer and then
scoring another basket.

Josh Howard had 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Mavericks, who
are 5-0 at home this season and have won 14 straight regular-season
games at American Airlines Center. Avery Johnson is 13-0 at home
since replacing Don Nelson as head coach last March.

Head had 28 points and Yao Ming 20 for the Rockets (3-8), who
came in averaging an NBA-low 84 points a game. Anderson added 19
points, his 3-pointer providing the 50-38 lead before Terry's

"I don't feel good because you compete hard and you still get a
loss. Who likes that?" said Head, the first-round pick from
Illinois who already had a season-high 16 points by halftime. "I
made some shots, but it's not about one person. A lot of guys have
got to step up."

Nowitzki's 12-foot turnaround jumper with 6:13 left put the
Mavericks ahead to stay after the Rockets erased a seven-point
deficit and tied the game at 86-all. About a minute later, Nowitzki
hit a 3-pointer to make it 92-87.

Game notes
Advantage: Yao Ming, on a jump ball against 6-foot-3 Devin
Harris in the third quarter. The 7-6 Yao easily won the jump. ...
Harris had the Mavs' first rebound, nine minutes into the game when
the Rockets already had 10. Dallas finished with a 45-34 rebounding
advantage. ... The Mavs had hoped Jerry Stackhouse (sore right
knee) might return this weekend. But with the swelling still not
under control, Johnson said Stackhouse's comeback will remain on
hold. He didn't know for how long. ... Mavs F Keith Van Horn
(sprained middle finger) sat for the third time in four games.

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