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Bench players help Mavericks beat Rockets

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Updated 12 months ago on
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DALLAS — The Dallas Mavericks finally solved the riddle that is Houston, beating the Rockets for the first time this season 111-100 Friday night at American Airlines Center.

Backup point guard Devin Harris scored 17 points and dished out seven assists to pace a balanced team effort for the Mavericks, who had lost the two previous meetings with Houston but moved to within a half-game back of the Rockets in the Western Conference standings.

“I just wanted to be aggressive,” Harris said. “Obviously with a team like this, they play such a helter-skelter kind of way and there are a lot of open shots out there. I just wanted to be aggressive and tried to make something happen.”

Dallas’ bench accounted for 51 points, 24 rebounds and 14 assists on the second night of a back-to-back coming out of the All-Star break. The Mavericks (37-20) were blown out Thursday night at Oklahoma City.

Mavs forward Al-Farouq Aminu had his second double-double of the season with season highs in points (17) and rebounds (12) off the bench. Among the starters, forward Chandler Parsons and guard Rajon Rondo scored 13 points each, forward Dirk Nowitzki and guard Monta Ellis had 12 points apiece, and center Tyson Chandler had 10 points and 14 boards.

“Bench play was great,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. “We had a lot of guys in double figures; we had three guys off the bench in double figures, eight guys altogether. It’s the kind of effort we needed, the kind of balance we needed to beat these guys.”

Parsons had to get his left ankle retaped in the third quarter and left the game with a sprain in the fourth.

Houston guard James Harden topped all scorers with 26 points, and made 11 of 13 free throws. Forward Trevor Ariza had 16 points, and reserve forwards Josh Smith and Corey Brewer scored 15 and 10, respectively.

Dallas was in control for much of the second half. The Mavericks turned an 11-point lead to start the third quarter to as much as a 20-point advantage before Houston made a push in the final quarter.

The Rockets cut the lead to five (94-89) despite a flurry of timeouts from Carlisle trying to stem the tide. Aminu knocked down a pair of shots and the Mavs were able to hold on.

Houston (36-18) appeared out of sync in its first game after nine days off. The Rockets committed 21 turnovers, including six from Harden and five from Smith.

“We have to knock shots down,” Houston coach Kevin McHale said. “We also have to make some better passes out of there, another drive-and-kick combination. We weren’t very sharp tonight. We had 21 turnovers and nine turnovers in the first 10 minutes of the game. We weren’t very good.”

The Rockets sprinted out to an 8-0 lead, but after that it was all Mavericks for the rest of the first half. Dallas made its first surge behind big bench contributions from Harris, Aminu and forward Richard Jefferson.

Reestablishing consistency from the second unit has been a point of emphasis for the Mavs. Dallas is adding another significant piece with newly signed forward Amar’e Stoudemire scheduled to play Sunday against Charlotte.

“We struggled for a while,” Harris said. “The more time we spend together, the more time we’ll have to see how each other plays and how we can be effective. Moving forward I think we’re going to get better and better.”

The Mavs were up 24-20 at the end of the opening period and extended their lead to as many as 13 in the second quarter. Aminu had nine points, as Dallas took a 54-43 advantage into the half.

Harden led all scorers with 11 points at the break, with Smith adding 10 points for Houston. Nowitzki and Ellis each had eight points. Harris had six assists in the first half.

The Rockets and Mavs hook up for the fourth and final time in the regular season April 2 in Dallas.

NOTES: Dallas had eight players score in double figures for the fourth time this season. Prior to 2014-15, the Mavericks hadn’t had eight in double figures more than twice in the same season. … Mavericks F Amar’e Stoudemire sat out his second consecutive game since signing with the club Wednesday. Stoudemire is expected to make his Dallas debut Sunday. … The two players Houston acquired at the trade deadline — veteran G Pablo Prigioni and rookie G K.J. McDaniels — passed physicals Friday and should be available Saturday against Toronto. … Houston was without C Dwight Howard (knee) for the third time this season against Dallas. … The Mavs have faced Houston on the second half of a back-to-back in all three of their matchups so far this season.

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