Lone Star State rivals will jockey for playoff position Tuesday when the reigning NBA champion Dallas Mavericks aim for their second win over the Houston Rockets in four days.
The Mavs went to South Texas on Saturday and escaped with a thrilling 101-99 overtime win behind Dirk Nowitzki's 31 points and Brandan Wright's seven blocked shots.
The Rockets had a chance to win it at the final buzzer, but Chase Budinger's three-pointer from the right corner fell harmlessly off the front of the rim.
Jason Terry had 24 points, including the go-ahead jumper with 36 seconds left in the extra session for the Mavericks, who have won five of their past seven games and are currently the fifth seed in the jumbled Western Conference.
"We're fighting now. We're fighting every night we go out on the floor," Terry said. "Each game is very critical for us, as far as playoff positioning. It's been a tough season, but overall I like the effort of everybody. We're doing what we have to collectively as a group to have success."
Just three game separate the No. 4 team in the West, the LA Clippers, and the 10th seed, Phoenix.
Nowitzki got caught with an errant elbow above the right eye in Houston and needed four stitches to close the cut but should be ready to go tonight.
Chandler Parsons, who had 12 points, 11 rebounds and six assists on Saturday, sent the game into overtime with a three-pointer at the buzzer.
Goran Dragic posted 24 points, eight assists and five rebounds while Luis Scola added 19 points and six boards for the Rockets against Dallas.
"You can't expect much more than what we had today," Scola said. "We got good looks but they just didn't go in. We played well. We just need to keep going. We needed this game. It's a shame we weren't going to have it and now we've got to go out there to Dallas and try to get one."
The Mavs haven't played again since besting the Rockets over the weekend but Houston, which is currently in the eighth and final postseason spot in the West, rebounded from its loss to Dallas by edging Sacramento, 113-106, in another overtime affair on Monday.
Patrick Patterson's career-high 24 point effort included 14 in the fourth quarter and the extra frame of that one as the Rockets overcame a 16- point deficit to defeat the Kings.
Scola recorded 18 points and 14 rebounds, Parsons and Courtney Lee scored 16 points apiece and Dragic contributed 14 points and 10 assists before leaving in the overtime session with an apparent ankle injury.
Earl Boykins replaced Dragic and promptly hit four critical free-throws down the stretch in his 2012 debut. Houston signed the 12-year NBA veteran, who finished with 10 points and five assists, to a 10-day contract earlier Monday.
"They just told be just be prepared to play to play tonight, and that's what I did before the game," said Boykins. "And I'm just glad that we were able to get the win. That was the big thing."
Dallas has won five straight overall versus Houston.