Rockets, Mavs renew rivalry in Big D

( - The Houston Rockets received a big lift from an unlikely source the last time out and look to extend their winning streak to four games Wednesday on the road against the rival Dallas Mavericks.

The Rockets have won three in a row overall and three straight at home after Tuesday's wire-to-wire 109-85 rout of the Boston Celtics. Terrence Jones scored a career-high 24 points on 10-of-12 shooting and pulled down nine rebounds to lead the Rockets, who shot a brilliant 56.9 percent.

Patrick Beverly netted 16 points, James Harden had 15 and Dwight Howard compiled another double-double of 10 points and 11 boards. Houston opened the game on an 18-1 run and had a 40-18 lead after the first quarter, improving to 8-4 on the season.

"We kept them to one point for a very long time just off of great on-the-ball defense and great help side by Dwight Howard. ... I'm just trying to make the simple plays, and I'm just trying to be there for cuts and offensive rebounds when I can," Jones told

Houston is second in the NBA with 108.8 points per game and is allowing 104.5 ppg in retrospect. The Rockets have scored 100-plus points in five straight games.

Dallas is right with the Rockets in both scoring and defense, posting 105.7 points per game and allowing 102.7 ppg. The Mavericks have won two in a row and four of their last five games, including Monday's 97-94 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers in the opener of a three-game homestand.

Monta Ellis scored 19 of his 24 points in the second half and added 10 assists for the Mavs, who are 5-0 at home and have won six straight in Big D dating back to last season. Ellis had 13 points in the third quarter alone and the Mavs last started 6-0 at home in 2007-08.

"My teammates look for me to make plays not only for myself but for others," said Ellis "and they put me in a great position, so that's what I tried to do."

Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion netted 20 points apiece for Dallas, which erased a 35-25 deficit and has won eight in a row at home over Philadelphia. Jose Calderon scored 14 points and former Sixer Samuel Dalembert had 14 rebounds off the bench. The Mavs closed the third quarter on a 14-4 run and led 74-71 heading into the final stanza.

Dallas never relinquished the lead in the final 12 minutes. The Mavericks are 7-0 this season when leading going into the fourth quarter, including 5-0 at home. In milestone news, Nowitzki needs 17 points to pass Reggie Miller (25,279) for 15th place on the NBA's all-time scoring list. He recently passed Jerry West for 16th on the list.

The Rockets downed Dallas, 113-105, on Nov. 1 at the Toyota Center and Harden led the charge with 34 points. Nowitzki netted 22 points in that one for the Mavericks, who are still 13-4 in the past 17 games in this series.

Houston has lost six in a row and 18 of 22 at the Mavs.