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Peja-Sighting Leads to Mavericks Win over Rockets

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On Saturday night, Peja Stojakovic answered his critics as he scored a season-high 22 points and the Mavericks were able to hold on to beat the Rockets, 106-102. Stojakovic was 1-11 from three-point range in his previous three games, but he was firing on all cylinders by going 4-6 from beyond the arc against Houston. "A Peja sighting, baby!" Dirk Nowitzki exclaimed in the locker room after the victory. "There he is! What’s up?!"

The Mavericks built a 23-point lead in the second half, but then had to stave off a strong rally by the Rockets in the closing minutes. The Rockets were led by Kyle Lowry, who scored 26 points and Kevin Martin added 17 points in the defeat. With the 106 points, the Mavs have scored 100 points in 10 of their last 11 games. Dallas is a remarkable 27-2 when they reach 100 points this season. The second loss in that department came on Thursday at the expense of the Denver Nuggets

The win allowed Dallas to continue their recent dominance over Houston. The Mavericks improved to 3-0 against the Rockets this season with the win at Houston. Dallas has now won 17 of the last 22 meetings with Houston. The dominance travels on the road as Dallas has now taken eight out of the last 11 games played in Houston.

Did THAT Just Happen?!

- As noted, Peja Stojokvic came out of nowhere with his 22 points. He scored 11 of his points in the third quarter, eight came in the first quarter. The 22 points marks a new season-high. Stojakovic's previous season-high was 17 points as a member of the New Orleans Hornets in the game against Dallas on November 17. The 22 points scored were the most the shooter has scored since February 7, 2010. At the start of the game, the forward was being defended by smaller defenders and he took advantage by posting them up and getting to the free throw line. He also recorded a milestone as he took sole possession of fourth place All-Time on the Career Three-Pointers Made List, passing Dale Ellis in the process. He recorded all of his points in three quarters of action as he did not see any game time in the final quarter

- The pick-and-roll was in full effect in the first half, many of them led to alley-oop dunks. There was one dunk that got a Mavs fan so excited that he jumped out of his seat and accidentally spilled beer onto the court. The situation led to a minor delay in the game. Tyson Chandler was credited two points off an alley-oop attempt from Jason Kidd. The play occurred with 30 seconds left in the half and gave the Mavericks a 57-44 lead. That does not sound like much of a situation, but the story is that Chandler never touched the ball. Chuck Hayes tipped the ball into the basket.

- Chandler was whistled for another technical foul against the Rockets, his second over the last three games. That increases his overall technical total to 10 this season, which ranks fifth in the league and puts him six shy of a one-game suspension. Chandler told the media that he plans on appealing the technical foul that was called on him as he was tangled up with Luis Scola.

- Brendan Haywood received his second Did Not Play - Coach's Decision within a span of four games. Part of Haywood's absence was due to the match-up. The other part...well...Rick Carlisle mentioned after the game that he really likes what he has seen in Mahinmi over the last few games.

- The Mavericks were doing work in the painted area. Coming in to the game against Houston, Dallas had averaged 34.7 points in the paint (last in the NBA). They had 40 points in the paint by halftime, which was the most they had in any half this season. They finished the game with 52 points in that department.


Box Score Revelations

- Dirk Nowitzki had a rough start to the game, shooting 1-5 from the field. He responded by shooting 7-11 after the rough start and finished with 22 points. It looked like he had some pep in his step and one sequence appeared to get him going. At the 7:26 mark of the second quarter, Nowitzki hit the first of two jumpers and on the next defensive position, he grabbed the first of two defensive rebounds. That is where he found his groove. The first basket in that sequence gave the Mavs the lead at 33-32.

- The Mavericks looked lethargic in the first quarter, yet they shot 47.6% from the field. Over the previous three games, Dallas came out of the gate slow and that was the case against the Rockets. The offense looked out of sync in moments and they allowed six early fast-break points.

- The bench continued their scoring surge as they had 39 points in the victory. The Rockets had 27 points come from their second unit. Shawn Marion led the scoring attack for the bench with 14 points. JJ Barea's hot shooting continued as he went 5-8 from the field and totaled 11 points. Ian Mahinmi and Jason Terry scored seven points each.

- Transition defense was a point of emphasis after the loss to the Nuggets. Things looked shaky as they allowed six fast-break points in the first quarter. At the end of the game, the Rockets had 19 and the Mavericks had 16. The team was pleased with the turnaround in that department.

-The Mavericks went 8-15 from three-point range. Dallas has now hit a three-pointer in an NBA-record 992 consecutive games. It is hard to imagine that the streak will end anytime soon with the league's third (Jason Kidd) and fourth (Peja Stojakovic) best three-point shooters of All-Time on the squad. Jason Terry is also in the mix as he is ranked eighth in that department.


Tweetings From the Mavs Universe

- "Mahinmi plays really solid defense, why isn't he the permanent backup?"


- "The mavs do not like playin in the 1st quarter"


- "Mahini 5 pts and 4 boards...that's like 2 games worth of production for Haywood


- "Does it really take 500 towels to clean up a spilled beer? Haha"


- "THIS is the Peja Stojakovich I grew to hate as a member of the Sad Sac Kings."


- "How in the world did we let these guys back in this"



If You Don't Like What I Said, Read What They Said

- Carlisle on Stojakovic, "He was aggressive. His rhythm was good and he got up some transition baskets and it came at a good time. Peja is an asset as it opens up Dirk. He wasn't making shots the first three games and tonight he was huge."

- Stojakovic on his night, "I was getting good looks the last couple of games, too. The shots just wouldn’t go in for me. I was very happy to knock them down (on Saturday). Hopefully, I can build on that."

- Nowitzki on Stojakovic, "He looked like his old self, just roaming out there, making shots from all over the place. It was fun to watch."

- Chandler on what he saw in Stojakovic's game, "He started reminding me of the guy I know. I’ve been telling guys it will take him a little while to get his legs underneath him, and he still doesn’t have them totally underneath him yet. But once he does, it’s pretty to watch."

- Kidd on what Stojakovic brings to the team, "That's an added dimension that we've been missing, and it just makes us deeper and stronger. As long as he keeps making them, he can pass me (on the All-Time list). I'm just happy to be in the top five."

We can get at least one quote about the game.

- Nowitzki on the team's play, "It was a good offensive night and even though we got stagnant in the fourth quarter, we had enough points to hold off their run."


BG's Baller of the Game:

Baller status has been granted to, you guessed it, Peja Stojakovic. It looks like I under-estimated the return of his shooting touch. I predicted that he was following the JJ Barea shooting drought schedule and I figured that Stojakovic would be firing on all cylinders as the playoffs came around. Mavs fans despised the shooter as he drained threes in different uniforms. Now, Mavs fans are hopeful Stojakovic can make other teams cringe as he lines up a three-point shot.


With the game against the Rockets complete, Dallas has two games left until the All-Star Break. The boys in blue are looking to build another winning streak and the schedule works in their favor as five of the Mavericks' next seven opponents have losing records. The Mavericks will not have another game until Wednesday evening as they play the Sacramento Kings. The two teams faced off on Wednesday, January 9. The Mavericks were victorious, 102-100, and collected the final win of their 10-game winning streak. Dallas versus Sacramento will tip off at 7:30 pm CST at the American Airlines Center.


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