DALLAS: The Dallas Mavericks recovered from a slow start to defeat their Texas rivals the Houston Rockets 121-103 on Tuesday.
Jason Terry made 7-of-8 field goals in scoring 24 points while Dirk Nowitzki added 23 to help the Mavericks overcome a 56-39 second-quarter deficit and claim their second straight win.
Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki celebrates after hitting a three point basket against the Houston Rockets during the second half of their NBA basketball game in Dallas, Texas November 10, 2009. [Agencies]
"We were just getting our tails kicked and the guys got angry and started playing a lot harder with a lot more purpose," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle told the Houston Chronicle. "That turned it around."
Dallas outscored Houston 64-42 during the second half to improve to 5-2 this season and move into first place in the Southwest Division.
Aaron Brooks led the way for Houston with 22 points while Carl Landry had 19 for the Rockets (4-3).
Forward Luis Scola scored 10 points in the first quarter as Houston opened up a 37-28 lead, who have impressed this season despite being without the injured pair Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady.
"It was fool's gold," said Rockets forward Shane Battier said.
"We sort of thought, 'well, all right, we'll be able to do that the rest of the game. It doesn't work like that."
Dallas fought back with a 22-3 run that started before halftime and carried into the third quarter.
Mavericks reserve Jose Juan Barea scored eight of his 14 points in the final 2:20 of the third quarter, which ended with Dallas leading 83-74 advantage.
Center Erick Dampier made 20 rebounds and scored 14 points on 6-for-6 shooting while Josh Howard added 14 points in his second game back with the team after missing the first five with ankle and wrist injuries.
His return has coincided with a sharp improvement in the Mavericks' offense and they have passed 120 points in their last two games.