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NBA: Mavericks down Rockets to stay alive in playoffs

The Dallas Mavericks stayed alive in the NBA playoffs on Sunday with a 121-109 victory over the Houston Rockets.

other Updated: Apr 27, 2015 15:32 IST

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.

Elsewhere in the West, the Los Angeles Clippers bounced back from the worst post-season game in club history, defeating reigning NBA champions San Antonio 114-105 to knot their best-of-seven first-round series at two games apiece.

Chris Paul produced 34 points and seven assists and the Clippers connected on better than 53 percent of their shots from the floor. It was a massive turnaround from their 34.1 percent, 73-point shooting performance in game three, both franchise lows for the post-season.

Los Angeles snapped a two-game losing streak in the series and will try to edge ahead when they host game five on Tuesday.

"There is no momentum in this series, as we've learned," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said.
"It's just two good teams fighting."

Paul, who had just seven points in Friday's 100-73 loss, connected on 11-of-19 from the field and scored 22 points in the second half.

Blake Griffin contributed 20 points, 19 rebounds and seven assists, J.J. Redick added 17 points and Austin Rivers and Jamal Crawford combined to score 31 off the bench for Los Angeles.

Kawhi Leonard again led the Spurs on offense, scoring 26 points after posting a career playoff high on Friday of 32.

"I think in general we lacked a lot of discipline," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "The only way to stay in those games is to play defense and not make mistakes and we made too many."

First Published: Apr 27, 2015 15:30 IST