Rapid Reaction: Mavs 123, Rockets 120

DALLAS -- Here's a quick look at the Dallas Mavericks' 123-120 victory over the Houston Rockets:

How it happened: The Mavericks pulled off a miracle comeback to beat the Rockets in a Wild West shootout.

After trailing by 18 at one point in the third quarter and 14 to start the fourth, the Mavs somehow mustered the ability to slow down the Rockets and caught fire in the final period.

Monta Ellis (37 points, eight assists, 13-18 FG) and Dirk Nowitzki (35 points, 13-20 FG) were both spectacular while putting up season-high point totals, but that wouldn't have mattered without an amazing defensive performance in the fourth quarter by Dallas, which looked helpless on that end of the court for the first three quarters.

Dallas outscored Houston by a 36-19 margin in the fourth quarter. The Mavs held Houston to only three points in the first 5:12 of the fourth quarter, and the Rockets were 5-of-19 from the field in the quarter after shooting 64.9 percent in the first 36 minutes.

Houston got monster games from Dwight Howard (33 points, 11 rebounds, 12-16 FG) and Chandler Parsons (21 points, 11 assists, 7-10 FG). James Harden had 23 points and eight assists. However, Houston's star trio went ice cold in the fourth, combining to make only 2 of 11 shots from the field.

Harden missed a potential tying free throw with 8.4 seconds left and a potential tying 3-pointer on the final possession.

Nowitzki, as he has done so many times over the years, dominated down the stretch. He scored 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting in the fourth. Ellis had eight points and three assists in the quarter, highlighted by him finding Shawn Marion wide open in the corner for the go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:20 left.

What it means: The Mavs have a statement win on their résumé, pulling off the stunning comeback against the Rockets. Dallas improved to 8-4 and remained undefeated at the American Airlines Center after six home games. Houston fell to 8-5.

Play of the game: For all of Ellis' scoring, a shot he created for a teammate was the biggest play of the game. Ellis drove the baseline, drew two defenders and made a leaping pass to a wide-open Marion for a corner 3 with 47.7 seconds left that gave the Mavs their first lead since the opening minute of the game.

Stat of the night: The Rockets' 40 points in the first are the most allowed by the Mavs in a quarter this season. The previous high was 38 in the first quarter by the Rockets during the Mavs' Nov. 1 loss in Houston. The Rockets' 68 points in the first half is also the most allowed by the Mavs in a half this season, surpassing the 61 the Rockets scored by halftime in the previous meeting.