Dampier: "Is he (Landry) tough?"

The last time the Mavericks and Rockets tangled, Houston forward Carl Landry left some of his teeth in Dirk Nowitzki's elbow. The nasty collision left Nowitzki with stitches, while Landry required emergency, five-hour dental work.

Both players missed one game, returning four nights later. Coincidentally, both players scored 27 points in their respective games. Nowitzki continues to wear a big, puffy elbow pad for protection. Landry showed up with a a set of brand-new chompers. Pretty tough huh?

Mavericks center Erick Dampier, not known as much of a trash talker, didn't seem impressed on Wednesday with Landry's quick recovery.

"Is he tough? We don’t know if he’s tough," Dampier said. "We just know he got his teeth knocked out. I mean there’s still a question about his toughness. We’ll see how he plays tomorrow."

Quite the challenge from the Mavs' big man. Of course, Dampier has a bit of a score to settle with the Rockets. He was ejected in the 116-108 overtime loss at the AAC on Dec. 18 after he was flagrantly fouled by Houston guard Aaron Brooks during the overtime. The refs reviewed the play to see if Dampier had swung an elbow at Brooks after the play. They determined he had and nailed Dampier with a technical foul, his second of the game, resulting in an automatic ejection.

Houston, we have a problem. The refs actually never should have reviewed the play because by rule a Flagrant 1 foul is non-reviewable. So Dampier should not have garnered the technical and he shouldn't have been ejected.

"We definitely owe them one," Dampier said.

In what amounts to a scheduling the quirk, the Southwest Division rivals will conclude their four-game season series before Jan. 1. The Mavs hold a 2-1 edge.