Mavericks play host to Rockets

The Dallas Mavericks hope to continue their decent play of late Saturday night when they visit a fellow Texas team, the Houston Rockets, at the Toyota Center.

The Mavs have won two of their last three, including a 97-94 road victory Thursday in Phoenix against the Suns. O.J. Mayo led the way for Dallas with 23 points, but four other Mavericks scored in double-figures.

The Mavs got clobbered on Wednesday night by the Los Angeles Clippers, 112-90, then made the short trip from Los Angeles to Phoenix.

"We played one of our strongest-willed games of the year," said head coach Rick Carlisle. "Difficult situation losing time coming off the back-to-back and a rough one last night, but everybody really played with a lot of heart and a lot of guts. It was really a war of attrition out there with the injuries and all the stuff going on, but everybody hung in and we found a way, and it's a huge win for us."

Dallas is trying to match any group together that can play well. Derek Fisher was brought in to play the point guard and scored two points and had three turnovers in 21 minutes Thursday.

Brandan Wright, who hadn't played much in recent weeks, scored 16 in 23 minutes off the bench. Elton Brand started at center, but Chris Kaman came in and netted 15 points.

The Rockets will be glad to begin a four-game homestand after losing their sixth straight on the road Friday night. Houston is 7-3 at home compared to 2-6 as the guest and has won its last six as the hosting club.

Houston, though, never led in Friday's 114-92 setback to the San Antonio Spurs, shooting 38.9 percent compared to 55.2 percent by its opponent.

"Tonight we had guys struggling to make shots. One thing we have to get better at is not letting missed shots effect the rest of your game," said Rockets coach Kelvin Sampson. "I think our inability to makes shots effected our defense. I just don't think we defended with much commitment tonight."

James Harden scored 29 points to pace the Rockets, who had won five of six coming in. Patrick Patterson and Toney Douglas each contributed 10 points in defeat.

"They're a very good team, especially at home. They did a good job of moving the ball," Harden said about San Antonio. "We knew they were going to pass the ball. It was just a matter of us really locking down and trying to stay on one page defensively."

The Mavericks have won 10 of the last 12 against the Rockets, including seven in a row. Houston last won at home against Dallas on Dec. 31, 2009.