The Rockets fought hard to get within just two in the final minute, but it came down to just two shots.
A missed three by the Rockets, and a made one for the Mavericks.
Cuttino Mobley missed a quick three-pointer out of a timeout with just over a minute left in the game, while Steve Nash threw in a cold-blooded bomb with 49.8 seconds left, putting Dallas up 5. It proved to be the game-winner as the Mavericks beat the Rockets 112-107 Tuesday night.
The Rockets have now lost 28 of their last 36 contests since starting the season 5-1.
Sheepdog Nash was just smoking hot for Dallas. He hit the big three, giving him 31 points to go along with 10 dimes, and his aggressiveness hurt the Rockets on more than one occasion this night. When he wasn't doing it, Dirk Nowitzki (25 points, 9 boards, 3 triples), Juwan Howard (19 points) or Adrian Griffin (15 points, 3 triples) were.
Yes, Adrian Griffin.
The free throw line hurt the Rockets also. They missed 9 freebies (23-32) while the Mavs were over 92% from the stripe (25-27). Got to take the charity.
As for Mobley, he may have missed the big three, but he had a terrific night. Tonight he hit 13-19 from the floor, including 3-5 from long range. Most importantly, Mobley showed strong finish in attacking the hoop, something that put him squarely on the map last season but has been lacking this year. Shooting efficiency has not been Mobley's strong suit this season, but in the last 6 games or so he's started to turn it around.
Steve Francis finished with 25 points, but hit just 9-23 from the field and turned it over (4 times) nearly as often as he set up his teammates (5 assists).
Eddie Griffin was absent on the boards tonight (3 rebounds), but continues to excel scoring, blocking and hitting long-range bombs. Eddie scored 19 points, hit 3-5 from long range and rejected 3 Maverick shots.
With Kenny Thomas out due to suspension, Rudy shuffled the starting lineup, going with Griffin and Terence Morris. TMo could hit just 3-11 from the field (2-7 from long range) to score 8 points and 8 boards. After Nash's big three, Morris missed a bomb and that sealed it.
Props also to Kelvin Cato. Just 1-5 shooting (not good), but his 10 boards, including 5 offensive, were big. Cato's effort has been there more often this season, and that's a good sign.
The Rockets jumped early on the Mavs, taking a 6-0 lead, and after Cuttino Mobley drained a three on the run, the Rockets led 10-5.
Boy did Eddie Griffin have a nasty rejection on Danny Manning. Manning got a pass underneath and immediately put it up... Eddie's amazing timing just swatted that layup out of there. Dallas hung tough, getting within one, but Eddie nailed a three top of the key and the Rockets were up 14-10.
Dallas, behind Dirk Nowitzki, took off on a 7-0 run and the Rockets had to call timeout.
Cuttino was hot, schooling Nowitzki on a drive, then popping a 14-foot baseline jumper, but the Mavs couldn't miss either. Still, when Steve Francis drove, scored and was fouled, making the freebie, the Rockets were within 24-23.
Griffin hit another three to give the Rockets the lead, and after two Dallas scores, Terence Morris nailed a triple to make it 29-28 Rockets.
Steve Nash hit a jumper at the first quarter buzzer, and after one, it was 34-34.
Mobley didn't miss in the entire period, going 5-5 for 12 points and also grabbed 5 boards. Francis added 9 points and 3 assists while Griffin had 8 (couple of triples) to go with 2 blocks. Nash led the Mavs with 10 while Nowitzki had 7.
Dallas jumped out to a 4-point lead right off the bat to start the second, but Moochie Norris hit a runner, then Griffin rejected Wang Zhi Zhi something fierce on a drive. When Mobley hit a baseline turnaround, and was fouled (making the FT), the Rockets led 39-38.
But 8 straight points - A Juwan Howard three-point play, a Nowitzki triple and an Eduardo Najera jumper - put the Mavs up 7, and after Kevin Willis made just 1-2 free throws, Howard scored easily on a break and it was 48-40 Mavericks.
Griffin hit a leaner and Francis a fast break layin to get within three, but Nowitzki hit another triple (now 3-3 from long range) and it was 51-45 Mavericks, but Dallas wouldn't relent. When Adrian Griffin hit a triple, the Mavs were up 10 at 58-48.
Griffin and Nash each scored and it was 62-50 Mavs. When Francis just turned the ball over on a simple drive, Howard scored easily on the other end and Dallas led 64-50. At half? 66-54 Mavericks.
Mobley led the Rockets with 16, Francis had 13 and Griffin 10. Terence Morris played well with 8 points (couple of triples) and 5 boards. Nash (16 points), Howard (15), Nowitzki (13) and Adrian Griffin (13) combined to score 57 of Dallas' 66 points in the first half.
Cuttino hit a three with 9 minutes left in the third, and the Rockets were within 8. After he scored on a drive in traffic, Nash hit 1-2 free throws, then Francis put in a nice, double-pump layin in front of the hoop and it was 73-66 Mavs. Eddie Griffin then hit a turnaround over Nowitzki, then Mobley again scored on a drive (now has 23 points) and Dallas had to call timeout, leading just 73-70 with 5:46 left in the third.
Cato had a nice steal on a Nash pass, and also had a great rejection of Shawn Bradley, who had just come in to the game because of the impact Cato was having. When Francis scored in transition, then Mobley hit two free throws, the Rockets were within just one, 77-76.
But in the final minute, Tim Hardaway hit a pair of free throws and Cuttino fouled Johnny Newman with 0.3 seconds left... he made both freebies and heading in to the fourth: Dallas 84, Houston 77.
Mobley led all scorers with 26, scoring 10 in the third period. Francis had 21 while Griffin had 14. Nash led Dallas with 21 and 8 assists.
Nowitzki got hot early in the fourth, and with just under 8 minutes to go, Dallas had a 9-point edge at 94-85.
But Willis converted a three-point play, then Mobley scored with the right hand on a tough drive and the Rockets were within four. Tough break saw Adrian Griffin get a loose ball and put it back in, but then with 5:10 left, Eddie Griffin nailed a bomb off the right wing, and Dallas had to stop the action. 96-93 Mavericks as the Rockets were on an 8-2 run over the last 2:10.
Out of the timeout, Nash responded immediately with a three. Mobley responded with a fadeaway jumper (giving him 30 on the night). Nowitzki nailed a pair at the charity stripe, then Francis had a drive goaltended by Najera. 101-97 Mavs.
Cato made 1-2 at the line, then Mobley hit a VERY tough jumper over Najera. After a Nash miss, the Rockets had the ball down just one at 101-100.
But Mobley threw the ball away, and Hardaway immediately hit a crushing three. 104-100 Mavs with just under 2 minutes to go.
Cato then hit two big free throws with 1:39 left. Howard missed a short baseline jumper, Cato snared the board and with 1:17 left and the score 104-102, Rockets called timeout.
But it was amazing how fast the Rockets were out of it. Right out of the timeout, Mobley went for the lead with a three... miss. Nash then drained a back-breaking three with 49.8 seconds left, putting Dallas up 5. When Terence Morris missed a wide open three top of the key and Dallas got the board, that was basically ballgame.