Dirk Nowitzki Scores 19 Points as Mavericks Top Rockets for Fourth Straight Win

Danny WebsterAnalyst IIIJanuary 16, 2013

DALLAS, TX - DECEMBER 28:  Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks during play against the Denver Nuggets at American Airlines Center on December 28, 2012 in Dallas, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Is he all the way there yet? Probably not.

But Dirk Nowitzki still knows how to put the Dallas Mavericks on his back when they need it the most.

Dirk scored a team-high 19 points, including eight in the fourth quarter, as the Mavs outlasted a second-half surge from the Houston Rockets to win 105-100 for their fourth straight win.

The all-time leading scorer in Dallas history hasn't been able to find his scoring touch on a consistent basis since returning to the lineup after missing the first two months after undergoing knee surgery.

But if this four-game win streak has told fans anything, everything is beginning to roll the right way for the Mavs, and if that's the case, then it shouldn't be too long before Dirk's back to his normal self.

Once again, however, it was another balanced scoring attack for the Mavs in defeating their in-state rivals, with Shawn Marion and O.J. Mayo each scoring 18 points, and Elton Brand and Jae Crowder also scoring in double figures off the bench.

The Mavs jumped out to a 15-point lead at one point during the first half, but James Harden and Jeremy Lin chipped away to cut the lead to as little as one late in the fourth quarter.

But the defense of the Mavs, which has been heavily questioned in late-game situations, buckled down and did a great job in guarding Houston's electric young backcourt.

All in all, Lin and Harden combined for 39 points but took a combined 36 shots to get there. Chandler Parsons also hit four three-pointers to finish with 18 points for Houston.

This is now the largest win streak of the season thus far for Dallas, and they've won three of four during this four-game homestand.

The real test comes on Friday when Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder come to Dallas on ESPN.

With a healthy Dirk in the lineup and a confident Mavs team, Dallas will hope to get the better of the Thunder after the tough overtime loss in December when Darren Collison hit that one-handed three-pointer at the end of regulation.

Things are getting interesting in Dallas.