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NBA Game Summary - Houston at Dallas

(Tuesday, November 22nd)

Final Score: Dallas 102, Houston 93

Dallas, TX (Sports Network) - Dirk Nowitzki poured in 31 points and Jason Terry added a season-high 29, as the Dallas Mavericks took advantage of a shorthanded Houston team to beat the Rockets 102-93 at American Airlines Center.

Josh Howard finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds for Dallas, which connected on 27-of-41 free throws to win its sixth straight game.

"We just tried to contain the perimeter," Howard said. "We knew that they were going to hit some shots from the outside and they did, but what it comes down to is that we shut them down when we needed to."

Dallas played without guards Doug Christie (sore left ankle), Jerry Stackhouse (sore right knee) and forward Keith Van Horn (dislocated finger on right hand).

Houston, which has lost four in a row, is going through a tougher time with injuries. Guard Bob Sura had back surgery Tuesday and could be lost for the season. All-Star Tracy McGrady missed the game with a strained back and guard Rafer Alston missed his third straight contest with a hairline fracture in his fibula.

Rookie Luther Head, starting in place of McGrady, scored a career-high 28 points and pulled down seven rebounds. Yao Ming had 20 points and Derek Anderson added 19 for Houston, which has lost to Dallas in 10 of the last 13 meetings.

"It's not about individual performances. It's about playing well enough as a team to be successful," said Rockets head coach Jeff Van Gundy said of Head. "We're asking a lot right now, and he's working hard at the game. He's trying."

Head's three-pointer brought Houston within 77-74 going into the fourth quarter, and Yao's three-point play had the Rockets within 83-82 with 8:18 remaining.

Two consecutive jumpers by Anderson tied the score at 86 with 6:33 left, but Houston couldn't go back in front. Nowitzki responded with a turnaround jumper and Dallas later used six straight points to extend to a 98-89 advantage with 1:40 remaining. DeSagana Diop hit four foul shots during the run, and Houston couldn't get closer than five points the rest of the way.

The Rockets bolted to a 27-19 lead after one quarter and held a 53-48 advantage at the half. However, Dallas scored nine in a row during the third quarter to forge a 65-58 lead. Howard converted a three-point play to start the rally and a jumper by Nowitzki capped the burst with 5:57 left in the quarter.

Game Notes

Marquis Daniels had 10 points for Dallas, which shot 47.2 percent from the field...Terry was 4-of-8 on three-pointers...Head went 9-of-17 from the field, including 5-of-8 from beyond the arc...Dallas has won 14 consecutive home games going back to last season...Mavericks head coach Avery Johnson improved his career coaching record to 24-4. If he wins his next two games, he will be tied for the most wins by a coach in his first 30 games.

11/23 01:04:14 ET

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