A change of venues made a world of difference for the Dallas Mavericks.
Some 24 hours after a subpar performance during a 15-point loss in Oklahoma City, the Mavs came home, regrouped and used a balanced attack to power past the Houston Rockets 111-100 on Friday night at American Airlines Center.
For the fourth time this season, the Mavs had eight players score at least 10 points as they ran their record to 37-20 overall and 9-4 on the second night on a back-to-back.
“Last night was a poor performance and our guys knew it, and we knew a lot of tonight was going to be about keeping our poise,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “It’s a heated rivalry and they’ve got some guys that are instigators, and I thought we held up well and kept it together and stayed aggressive.”
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A huge effort down the stretch by Al-Farouq Aminu helped the Mavs open this three-game homestand on a positive note. On the floor in crunch time for the injured Chandler Parsons, Aminu kept coming up with key points after the Rockets tried to seize control of the game.
The Mavs built an 87-67 lead after the third quarter, but the Rockets went to a small lineup and came storming back and climbed within 94-89 after a 3-pointer by Trevor Ariza with 5:06 remaining in the game.
From there, Aminu negotiated a steal and a dunk, and then grabbed a missed jumper by Dirk Nowitzki and turned that into a put-back basket to put the Mavs ahead 98-89.
Later on after Houston inched to within 98-93 with 2:15 left, Monta Ellis scored on a floater, Tyson Chandler muscled in a dunk and Aminu added a pair of free throws as the Mavs pulled ahead 104-93 with 1:08 to go.
“Farouq was tremendous, and lately he’s been one of our best plus-minus guys,” Carlisle said. “He gives us a presence on the boards, you can see his shooting gets better every game and he takes the challenge defensively.
“He can guard a lot of different positions. He’s having a lot of things to process, but he’s doing a terrific job.”
Aminu finished with season highs in points (17) and rebounds (12) in picking up his first double-double of the season. It came at a time when the Mavs lost Parsons early in the fourth quarter after he sprained his left ankle.
The X-rays were negative and he said he’ll undergo an MRI.
The Mavs also lost Nowitzki (12 points, six rebounds) for a period of time in the second half after he injured his right elbow. But knowing they’re in the middle of a heated race for a higher playoff seeding, the Mavs won the rebounding battle 50-47, and then fought off a furious rally by the Rockets (36-18).
Devin Harris (17 points, six rebounds, seven assists) and Rajon Rondo (13 points) fueled the third-quarter rally that got the Mavs that 20-point cushion.
“I wanted to be aggressive,” Harris said. “Obviously with a team like this they play such a helter-skelter kind of way; there’s a lot of open shots out there.
“I just wanted to be aggressive and try to make something happen. Coming off the bench you kind of get to see how the game is flowing and see how you can impact it.”
Chandler also impacted the game by registering his 25th double-double of the season after finishing with 10 points and 14 rebounds. Charlie Villanueva (13 points), Parsons (13 points) and Ellis (12 points) also chipped in to make this a solid all-round effort by the Mavs.
“The bench play was great,” Carlisle said. “We really needed Farouq to have a big game, and he did.”
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760
Twitter: @dwain price