Saturday, December 15, 2007

Effort carries over in third Rockets win

HOUSTON – The Mavericks have been looking for carryover. From practice to practice. From game to game. From quarter to quarter.

Whatever the time frame or circumstance, the search for carryover from one performance to the next was put to the test Saturday night. Finishing a back-to-back against a division rival coming off two-day break is about as stiff a challenge as there is in the NBA.

The Mavs rose to the occasion and clamped down on Houston to escape the Toyota Center with a 96-83 victory. In beating Houston for the third time in three tries already this season, Dallas (16-9) appears to be turning a corner.

“It’s about time,” Dirk Nowitzki said. “It’s December now and there has to be a sense of urgency and the last two games there has been some progress. We’re pressing too much and we don’t need to worry, but to just go out and have fun. You can’t get too high or too low because it is a long season.”

The Mavs gave themselves a personal challenge for the last five games.

“Our defense really picked up,” Jerry Stackhouse said. “We’re 4-1. We wanted to look at it as a playoff series and 4-1 will do it every time.”

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