HOUSTON - Dirk Nowitzki scored 31 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter, to lead the Dallas Mavericks to a 111-104 win over the Houston Rockets on Monday night.
Houston cut the lead to six after a 3-pointer by Aaron Brooks with about 3 Â½ minutes left, but Nowitzki knocked down consecutive baskets to push the Mavericks lead to 107-97.
Dwight Howard had 29 points and 15 rebounds for the Rockets, who were playing their second straight game without leading scorer James Harden, who was out with a sprained left ankle.
Dallas started the final period by using a 9-4 run powered by three 3-pointers, including two from Jae Crowder, to push the lead to 95-82.
Jeremy Lin, who has been out since Dec. 13 because of back spasms, scored 20 and Chandler Parsons had 21 for Houston.
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