DALLAS (AP) — O.J. Mayo and the Dallas Mavericks were embarrassed by a blowout loss in Houston. Given a chance to atone for it three nights later, they made the most of the opportunity.
Mayo had two big fourth-quarter baskets and a career-high 12 assists, Dirk Nowitzki scored 22 points and the Mavericks hung on to win the quick rematch with the Rockets 112-108 on Wednesday night.
Dallas' humiliating final quarter of garbage time in Houston's 33-point win Sunday was replaced by 12 tense minutes that included two chances for James Harden to tie or give the Rockets the lead in the final 30 seconds.
Harden, who led Houston with 28 points and made all 16 of his free throws, missed a 3-pointer and a layup against the tight defense of Shawn Marion, who matched Nowitzki with 22 points.
"After what happened in Houston, it was embarrassing, as a man, as a player and as a Dallas Maverick," said Mayo, who had 13 points and six rebounds without a turnover. "We really wanted to come in here and show our fans that we are a much better squad."
Harden, who also had nine assists, put the Rockets ahead 104-102 with a 3-pointer with 3:41 remaining, but Mayo answered with a 3 and another jumper to put Dallas up for good at 107-104. Mayo's last assist came on a bucket by Nowitzki that pushed the lead to 109-104.
The Rockets got within one after Harden twice was fouled driving for a layup and hit all four free throws. The Mavericks had to settle for a two-point lead when Marion missed one of two free throws, but their defensive stopper made up for it at the other end.
Officials had to use replay to confirm possession on an out-of-bounds call after both misses by Harden, who was 5 of 17 from the field. The first call in favor of the Rockets was confirmed, giving Harden a second chance. But the second ruling went Dallas' way with 6.4 seconds left, and Darren Collison hit two free throws for the final margin.
"I'm just trying to make it hard for him," Marion said. "Crowd him and don't let him get comfortable. He's a very aggressive player. At the same time, you take a lot of free throws out of the game and he had a rough night."
Chandler Parsons had 23 points for Houston after scoring a career-high 32 on Sunday, while Jeremy Lin scored 12 but sat the entire fourth quarter in favor of backup Patrick Beverley.
"We were prepared for a dogfight and we knew they were going to play extremely hard given the circumstances of what just happened," Parsons said. "I thought we put ourselves in a position to win. It's one that we let slip away."
Nowitzki was called for his fifth foul and a technical midway through the fourth quarter after a rough sequence that ended with the 7-footer getting his shot blocked by the 6-foot-1 Beverley. Nowitzki knocked Carlos Delfino to the floor as he was trying to start a fast break.
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