NBA: Mavericks down Rockets to stay alive in playoffs
DALLAS, United States – The Dallas Mavericks stayed alive in the NBA playoffs on Sunday with a 121-109 victory over the Houston Rockets.
Down 3-0 in their best-of-seven Western Conference first-round series, the Mavs opted to give J.J. Barea and Al-Farouq Aminu their first starts of the post-season and both produced double-doubles.
Barea scored 17 points and handed out 13 assists, enlivening a starting lineup that has been without injured Chandler Parsons and Rajon Rondo.
Aminu added 16 points — including five straight in the fourth quarter that helped thwart a Houston rally — and pulled down 12 rebounds.
Monta Ellis scored 31 points for the Mavs, who will try again to avoid elimination when they visit Houston for game five on Tuesday.
They still face a tough task. No team has rallied from an 0-3 deficit to win a best-of-seven NBA playoff series.
As in game three, the Mavericks dominated the second quarter and led at halftime.
But this time, they kept the pressure on in the third, Ellis scoring 10 points in a 20-4 run to open the second half.
Houston whittled away at a 24-point deficit, with Josh Smith scoring eight unanswered points to help the Rockets pull within 109-99.
James Harden led the Rockets with 24 points, but Houston couldn’t get over the hump.