Regular Season Series (Game 4 of 4)

Series starts 11/21

Game 1: Thursday, November 21st
Game 2: Tuesday, January 21st
Game 3: Wednesday, January 29th
Game 4: Friday, February 21st

Mavericks 100


Rockets 85


    7:00 PM ET, February 21, 2003

    1 2 3 4 T
    DAL 23 26 26 25100
    HOU 30 15 21 1985

    Top Performers

    Dal: D. Nowitzki 34 Pts, 11 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl

    Hou: S. Francis 19 Pts, 7 Reb, 7 Ast, 5 Stl

    Mavericks have no problem sweeping Rockets

    HOUSTON (AP) -- Dirk Nowitzki took care of the scoring and Shawn Bradley took care of Yao Ming.

    Dirk Nowitzki

    Nowitzki had 34 points and 11 rebounds and led a 14-2 second-quarter spurt as the Dallas Mavericks completed a season sweep of the Houston Rockets, 100-85 Friday night.

    Dallas won its fifth straight game and beat the Rockets for the fourth time this season.

    "We always try to be the aggressor,'' Nowitzki said. "When you're the aggressor every night you're going to get breaks. It's a good shooting building. I've always liked to come here and play. There are always a lot of Mavs fans. It's a lot of fun.''

    While Nowitzki had his team leading 26th double-double, Bradley came off the bench for 12 points, seven rebounds and six blocks.

    Yao scored 18 points, including 15 in the second half.

    "We were able to get a lead and keep it,'' Bradley said. "He (Yao) got his points, but he didn't get them until the end of the game when we had a good lead and the game was over.

    "We knew we had to step up defensively. We couldn't give them a lead and hope to come back.''

    The Mavericks were coming off a victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night.

    "It was a tough win yesterday and we wanted it to carry over,'' Nowitzki said. "In the beginning, we were turning the ball over and weren't shooting very well. But once we got our offense going, we were OK.''

    The Mavericks used their spurt late in the second quarter to take a 49-45 halftime lead, and they kept up the pace in the third quarter with a 20-12 run, building a 69-57 lead with 4:09 left in the period. Dallas took a 75-66 lead into the fourth quarter.

    "This is something for me to learn from,'' Yao said of the 7-foot-6 Bradley. "I don't get many opportunities to play against anyone as tall as me. I thought the second half, I played OK but the first half I played very poorly.''

    Steve Nash shot 6-for-6 and scored 14 for Dallas, and Nick Van Exel added 13 points and seven assists off the bench.

    Steve Francis led Houston with 19 points.

    Rockets were leading 43-35 before Dallas started its 14-2 run with Nowitzki hitting four baskets in a row to tie it at 43-43. Shawn Bradley had two free throws to put Dallas ahead for good, and Avery Johnson hit a basket at the buzzer for Dallas' halftime lead.

    Nowitzki scored 10 points in the run.

    "Nowitzki feels comfortable anywhere on the floor,'' Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich said. "There's no place where he's a low percentage player.

    The Rockets came out running in the first quarter and used a 15-2 charge to take a 30-23 lead.

    The Rockets shot 60 percent from the field in the first quarter but hit only 28 percent the rest of the game.

    "I liked a lot of the shots we had,'' Tomjanovich said. "We didn't get a high percentage inside like we usually do and Bradley had something to do with that. They didn't have to double-team us, and then we missed some good ones.''

    Game notes

    Dallas had never swept the Rockets before. Houston still has a 69-44 all-time record against the Mavericks. ... Francis celebrated his 26th birthday . ... Houston is 3-11 in the first night of back-to-backs and 9-4 on the second night. ... Francis got approval to play prior to the game despite lower back pain that hampered him in practice Thursday. ... Nowitzki played with a sprained ankle.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 100 85
    FGM-FGA 38-77 (.494) 30-85 (.353)
    3PM-3PA 6-17 (.353) 4-17 (.235)
    FTM-FTA 18-25 (.720) 21-28 (.750)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 6-40 23-56
    Assists 23 14
    Turnovers 9 16
    Steals 9 9
    Blocks 6 2
    Fast Break Points 6 8
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 18 (2/0) 17 (2/0)

    Top Performers

    Dirk Nowitzki Nowitzki
    Points: 34
    Reb: 11
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    Steve Francis Francis
    Points: 19
    Reb: 7
    Ast: 7
    Stl: 5
    Blk: 0