DALLAS -- The Dallas Mavericks sure know how to protect their home turf.
Battling uphill all night Wednesday, the Mavs put on a furious rally in the fourth quarter and went on to upend the Houston Rockets, 123-120, before a sellout crowd of 20,045 at American Airlines Center. The win helped the Mavs, who were down 18 points late in the third period, remain perfect at home at 6-0.
In claiming their first victory of the season against a quality opponent, the Mavs are now 8-4 on the season and 2-0 on this three-gane homestand which concludes Friday against the Utah Jazz.
Monta Ellis led the Mavs with a season-high 37 points, Dirk Noiwtkzi poured in a season-high 35 points, and Jose Calderon and Shawn Marion each popped in 13 points.
Nowitzki passed Reggie Miller and became the NBA's No. 15th all-time leading scorer with a free throw with 2:11 left in the second period.
The Rockets were up 93-75 with 3:36 left in the third quarter and seemed to be on their way to a relatively easy victory. But the Mavs took their first lead since early in the game at 121-119 when Marion scored on a fastbreak layup and followed that up with a three-pointer from right in front of the Rockets' bench with 47.7 seconds left.
James Harden could have tied the game, but he split a pair of free throws with nine seconds left, leaving the Mavs ahead 121-120. Jose Calderon then drilled two free throws with 6.7 seconds to go, and Harden missed a potential-tying three-pointer to end the game as coach Rick Carlisle left the court smiling.
Dwight Howard (33 points, 11 rebounds) led the Rockets, and got help from Chandler Parsons (21 points, 11 assists), Harden (23 points, eight assists )and Terrence Jones (18 points).
Both team were on fire with the Mavs shooting 58.3 percent from the field and the Rockets blasting away at a 55.3 percent clip.
Overall, in their torrid comeback, the Mavs outscored the Rockets in the final period, 36-19.
-- Dwain Price
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