Brian Waddle for CBSDFW.COM
143091174 81 Mavs Move Closer To Securing Playoff Spot

Jason Terry #31 of the Dallas Mavericks celebrates a win against the Houston Rockets on April 18, 2012 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. Copyright 2012 NBAE (Photo by Danny Bollinger/NBAE via Getty Images)

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A victory was needed to help secure a playoff spot and the Dallas Mavericks answered the call with a 117 -110 win over the Houston Rockets.

The Mavs haven’t quite secured a playoff spot just yet but the win certainly gave them some breathing room leading up to their final home game against Golden State Friday night. With both teams shooting at least 50% for the game, defensive stops would be at a premium especially in the first half. There was a combined 110 points scored in the first half.

143087887 81 Mavs Move Closer To Securing Playoff Spot

Rockets vs Mavs Photos

However, in the second half, key players for this team stepped up when the help was needed to secure the victory. The Mavericks had five players in double figures including Dirk Nowitzki scoring a game high 35 points, including 31 in the second half and 21 in the fourth quarter leading the Mavs to their 35th victory of the season.

“It was a fun game, the atmosphere was good and we made some shots at the right time. ‘JET’ (Jason Terry) got hot there and made some shots. J-Kidd was hot so we made some great plays when it counted,” said Nowitzki.

The bench made the difference tonight; Jason Terry had 19 points and Vince Carter had a season high 23 points. Vince Carter’s extra contribution definitely did not go unnoticed with his coach.

“He just had a really strong disposition at both ends of the floor. He was attacking on offense. Defensively, he was putting his body on people and he was rebounding. He’s a tremendous all-around player. His passing ability is something that’s frequently overlooked because he’s a high flyer and scorer. We’ve needed him the last couple of games for spacing, and we need his all-around ability,” praised head coach Rick Carlisle.

Heading into the playoffs, better basketball is the key for this group and the moment seems to be bringing the best out of the Dallas veterans. Kidd played over 35 minutes tonight and has played at least 33 minutes in the last four games.

“We’re getting closer to the postseason so I want to be out there to help my team and my teammates win,” said Kidd, “It’s time to go. We can rest later on during the summer.”

The players obviously feel the pressure of the postseason quickly approaching, the team knows the importance of clinching a spot. Dallas’ magic number is down to one.

“If we win Friday, we’re in. We understand things and we talked about it this morning. This game was really pivotal in so many ways because it’s a double count game on the whole magic number thing, and it effectively takes one team out of it, which is big. We’ve got three more important games to go and they’re all meaningful,” said Carlisle.

The defending champions have an important opportunity ahead and finding a way to win is what champions are made of. The Mavs scored 67 points in the second half, 39 of which were scored in the 4th quarter helping them overcome a nine point deficit. The victory gave Dallas a 3-0 record against Houston this season and it’s their seventh consecutive win over Houston.

Brian Waddle is the Producer for the K&C Masterpiece on 105.3 The Fan Sundays from 10am-2pm. You can follow Waddle on Twitter @Big_Time_Waddle

(© Copyright 2012 CBSDFW.COM, CBS Local a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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