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|04-02-2015, 11:00 PM||#1|
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Harden scores 24, Rockets rally past Mavericks 108-101
James Harden scored 24 points, former Dallas guard Jason Terry hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer and the Houston Rockets beat the Mavericks 108-101 Thursday night.
The Rockets (52-24) moved a half-game ahead of Memphis in the race for the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference behind Golden State.
Even with the loss, the Mavericks (46-30) are likely to end up with the seventh seed after a win over Oklahoma City on Wednesday put them four games up on the Thunder and gave them the tiebreaker. They're now 3 1/2 ahead with six to go.
Trevor Ariza scored 19 for Houston, while Terry had 10 and Corey Brewer, another key member of Dallas' championship run in 2011, finished with 14.
Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavericks with 21 points.
Harden led the Rockets in scoring — as usual — a night after scoring a career-high 51 points in a win over Sacramento. But he had plenty of help this time as Houston erased a six-point deficit at the start of the fourth quarter.
Terry broke a 95-all tie with a 3-pointer, Brewer hit a couple of key buckets and Josh Smith made free throws after Houston struggled at the line early. Smith finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Harden appeared to give Houston a 104-97 lead with a layup at the shot-clock buzzer, but it was overturned on review a couple of possessions later. With the score back at 102-97, Nowitzki hit a layup to get within three with 1:17 left.
After misses from Brewer and Smith, Monta Ellis, who had 19 points, missed a potential tying 3 for Dallas and the Rockets put the game away at the line. They made all 10 free throws in the fourth quarter.
The Mavericks played the Rockets all four times this season on the second night of a back-to-back, but this time the Rockets were doing it too — and playing for the fourth time in five nights.
That meant two games without Dwight Howard, who isn't playing back-to-backs after missing two months with swelling in his right knee. He played in Dallas, but was limping before leaving just 4 minutes into the third quarter. He didn't even get off the floor on two alley-oop attempts before leaving in the third.
Howard returned to start the fourth, missed a jump hook in the lane on the first possession but went high for an offensive rebound, and then straight back up for a dunk the next time down the court for Houston.
The Rockets are still easing Howard back in, playing him 18 minutes a night after sitting him in a win over Sacramento. He returned from the knee injury last week. Howard finished with eight points and seven rebounds.
Rockets: Joey Dorsey was 1 of 6 on free throws, including a couple of air in the first. But Houston recovered to go 29 of 40. Harden was 10 of 12.
Mavericks: F Chandler Parsons left in the third quarter with right knee soreness and didn't return. He had 11 points. ... Rajon Rondo had eight points and six assists at halftime but was shut out in both categories in the second half, when he sat for long stretches.
Rockets: at Oklahoma City on Sunday.
Mavericks: home against Golden State on Saturday.
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