Jason Terry scored seven consecutive points in a minute, starting a game-turning run for the Dallas Mavericks. And he wasn’t alone contributing off the bench.
Like Terry, Rodrigue Beaubois and Brandan Wright scored in double figures in a 90-81 victory over the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night. Even Lamar Odom resembled the player the defending NBA champions always thought they were getting.
”We got off to a very poor start,” coach Rick Carlisle said. ”Odom, Terry, Wright, all of those guys that came in, Beaubois had a very impact game. All of those guys did, and they were the difference.”
The Mavericks fell behind by as many as 16 in the first quarter, and didn’t overtake a short-handed and worn-out Rockets team until Terry’s seven straight points started a 21-6 run in the third quarter.
”We needed a spark. We needed some energy. I saw us lagging there. It was an opportunity for us to take control of the game,” Terry said. ”The bench was tremendous. It will be a key for us down the stretch. We need to be consistent off the bench, especially offensively.”
With 15 games left in the condensed regular season, the Mavericks (29-22) are tied for fifth place in the Western Conference. Next is a trip Thursday night to Miami in a rematch of last season’s NBA finals, and their first matchup since the Heat won 105-94 at Dallas in the Christmas Day season opener.
Dallas has won consecutive games against the Rockets, also winning 101-99 in overtime Saturday night in Houston.
But the Rockets (27-24) also had to play at home again Monday and needed overtime to beat Sacramento. This loss dropped them a half-game behind Denver for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.
”We got a little bit tired,” coach Kevin McHale said. ”We didn’t have that zip we needed. … The game was up for grabs in the third quarter, but we didn’t have any rhythm offensively.”
A turnover by Houston led to a breakaway layup by Terry with 6:39 left in the third quarter. The Mavs still trailed after Terry got credit for a layup after a goaltending call, but Terry then swished a 3-pointer from the top of the key for a 55-53 lead with 5:39 left in the quarter. It was their first lead since the game’s opening minutes.
Terry finished with 12 points and four assists. Beaubois had 14 points with five assists and Wright 13 points.
Odom’s nine points were his most in the last nine games, not including the game when Odom didn’t even play last Friday.
He was 4 of 5 shooting, including a driving wraparound layup during that third-quarter run that drew a huge cheer from the crowd, which had initially greeted him with a mix of cheers and boos. He also had four rebounds, three assists, a steal, a block and no turnovers in his 23 minutes.
”I felt comfortable. I’m finally getting to the point where I’m getting my second wind,” Odom said. ”I can finally count on my body, which in this game is what it’s all about. All you can do is take it game by game and not get too excited.”
Carlisle called it a ”great step in the right direction” for last season’s NBA Sixth Man of the Year with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Dirk Nowitzki had 21 points despite a bad shooting night (5 of 17), and was the only Dallas starter who scored in double figures. He made 11 of 12 free throws, 10 of the attempts coming before halftime.
Luis Scola had 22 points and eight rebounds for the Rockets, while Goran Dragic scored 17 points. Chandler Parsons had 15 points and nine rebounds.
After Terry’s seven-point run, Jason Kidd had a mistake. His turnover led to a running layup by Dragic to tie it at 55, but he quickly redeemed himself with a 3-pointer that put the Mavs ahead to stay.
Even after two overtime games the previous three nights, and again without guards Kyle Lowry and Kevin Martin, the Rockets jumped out to a quick 15-4 lead. That was capped by Dragic and Courtney Lee hitting consecutive 3s.
The Rockets had their largest lead, 26-10, after a 3-pointer by Chase Budinger with three minutes left in the first quarter.
”We had good energy in the first quarter,” Scola said. ”But we didn’t play well in the second half.”
Notes: After scoring 30 points in the first quarter, the Rockets had only 32 in the entire second half. … Nowitzki scored 11 points in a first half-ending 16-10 run for Dallas. … Lowry has missed 11 games in a row because of a bacterial infection and Martin has been out nine in a row with a sprained right shoulder. … Mavericks G Delonte West missed his 21st consecutive game because of a broken right ring finger and C Brendan Haywood was out his sixth consecutive game with a sprained right knee. ”They’re getting close but they’re not ready to play,” Carlisle said.