Rockets beat Mavs again to take 3-0 series lead

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DALLAS – The Houston Rockets opened with a 42-point first quarter but they would have their struggles against the Dallas Mavericks nonetheless. The Mavs would lead at the break 72-65. But the Rockets would take the third quarter by outscoring the Mavs 36-27.

Dallas would not go away though as they cut it 124-123 on a pair of free throws by Dirk Nowitzki with just over a minute to go. Harden would score on a three-point play and then add a huge bucket with 12.7 seconds left in the game for a playoff career-high of 42 points.

The Rockets beat the Mavs 130-128.

Rockets center Dwight Howard was huge around the basket as he scored 13 points and hauled in 26 rebounds. Josh Smith had another solid game with 18 points. The Mavericks were led by Nowitzki who scored 34 points and guard Monta Ellis added 34 points.

The series resumes on Sunday in Dallas with the Rockets going for the sweep.