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Bench launches short-handed Mavs over Houston

DALLAS -- The Mavericks' surge in a 90-81 win over the Rockets on Tuesday began with the bench.

The starters came out sluggish against the depleted Rockets, who jumped out to a 30-19 lead after the first quarter.

Dirk Nowitzki's free throws helped the Mavs claw their way back to 49-46 at halftime, but the starters came out of the locker room looking worse. They scored just two points in the first five minutes before Jason Terry and the bench came to the rescue.

Terry scored seven points in less than a minute, capping off the run with a 3-pointer that gave the Mavs their first lead since early in the first quarter.

The bench scored 31 of the Mavs' 44 second-half points. For the game, it had a 48-17 edge against the Rockets' bench.

Brandan Wright continued his strong play by going 6-of-7 for 13 points. He played 30 minutes for the second night in a row, his only two 30-minute games this season.

"The second unit came in and we provided that spark," Wright said. "It's important to keep pushing when they get down like that."

Wright said it's nothing but "pure fun" when he gets to be in the bench lineup with Terry, Lamar Odom and Rodrigue Beaubois.

"It's pretty potent," he said. "I think we put a lot of fear into teams when we come with that smaller, quicker lineup."

Odom looked like a completely different player than the man who was booed just a week before, scoring nine points on 4-of-5 shooting. Perhaps a push from an old friend was what energized the struggling forward.

Beaubois finished 5-9 with 14 points and a team-high five assists.

The strong bench play couldn't come at a better time for some starters. Veterans Jason Kidd and Vince Carter both played fewer than 25 minutes.

After the game, the 39-year-old Kidd said he was more than happy to spend the fourth quarter on the bench.

The Mavs will need to rely on their bench at Miami on Thursday night. The Heat haven't lost at home since Jan. 22.

Jason Terry knows that as well as anybody. Despite winning the NBA championship in South Beach last season, the Mavs' sixth man has a different game in mind -- the season-opening 105-94 loss at home to the Heat.

"The only thing I remember is Christmas Day," Terry said. "The feeling I felt after that game wasn't good at all."