How it happened: The Rockets couldn’t keep up with the Mavs in a game missing the marquee players from both teams.
With Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki and Houston’s Jeremy Lin watching, the Mavs turned up the tempo in the third quarter and ran the Rockets out of the gym. Dallas had four fast-break buckets during a 20-0 run, which featured 10 points and two assists by O.J. Mayo.
Mayo, playing with a bandage on his lacerated shooting hand, bounced back from an 0-for-7 shooting night in the Mavs’ loss to FC Barcelona Regal last week by lighting up the Rockets for 20 points. Mayo made seven of 12 shots from the floor.
Five other Mavs scored in double figures: rookie Jae Crowder (20), Shawn Marion (15), Vince Carter (15), Elton Brand (10) and Brandan Wright (10). Point guard Darren Collison added eight points and eight assists.
What it means: The Mavs are capable of competing against an NBA team without Nowitzki.
Play of the game: Take your pick of two pretty Marion slams during the Mavs’ 20-0 run. He set the first up with a steal, pushing the ball up the floor and finishing after a full-speed give-and-go with Collison. Mayo threw a terrific, left-handed lob in transition on the second, a two-hand finish by Marion.
Stat of the night: Each Dallas starter had a plus-minus of at least plus-11.