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Mavericks at Rockets: What bettors need to know

Dallas Mavericks at Houston Rockets (OFF)

For at least one night, Dwight Howard made Houston Rockets fans forget all about the litany of injuries in their backfield. Howard will try to put together a fitting
encore performance as the Rockets entertain the rival Dallas Mavericks on Monday in the final game before a brief holiday break. Howard erupted for 35 points and 19 rebounds in a 114-97 victory over the Detroit Pistons over the weekend, while the Mavericks are coming off a 123-108 loss to Phoenix.

Howard's efficient night - he shot 13-of-18 from the field and added five assists - helped overcome the absence of guards James Harden and Jeremy Lin and frontcourt mate Omer Asik. "Dwight was unbelievable," Rockets forward Chandler Parsons told reporters after the game. He completely dominate the game." The Mavericks must have felt dominated themselves against the surging Suns, who shot 51.2 percent from the field while knocking down 15 3-pointers.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSSW (Dallas), CSH (Houston)

LINE: The line and the total are currently off the board.

COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Dallas (-7.5) - Houston (-10.5) + home court (-3) = Houston -6

ABOUT THE MAVERICKS (15-12, 14-3 ATS): Rick Carlisle is already looking ahead to the end of the season. More specifically, the Dallas head coach has a good idea of where the Mavericks will find themselves relative to other teams in the playoff chase. "We're in a situation where we're one of six or seven teams fighting for two or three playoff spots," he told the Dallas Morning News. "That's what it's going to come down to. Concentration and focus and attention to detail are going to carry the day as to who gets in and who has a chance to advance."

ABOUT THE ROCKETS (18-10, 15-2-1 ATS): With Lin and Harden out and Patrick Beverley leaving the game with a broken hand that will cost him six weeks, Parsons was forced into emergency point guard duty against the Pistons. Parsons joked afterward that he may need to work on his fitness level. "That is tiring bringing that ball up with a 5-7 guy on you," he told the Houston Chronicle. "I brought it up against (Pistons backup guard) Will Bynum. That's exhausting, man. I hadn't done that in a while. That was fun."

TRENDS:

* Over is 4-0 in the last four meetings in Houston.
* Favorite is 5-0 ATS in the last five meetings.
* Home team is 5-0 ATS in the last five meetings.
* Over is 5-2 in the last seven meetings.

BUZZER BEATERS:


1. The home team has won the last five meetings.

2. Howard averages 19.9 points and 12.5 rebounds in 21 career games versus the Mavericks.

3. Harden remains questionable for Monday, though he has said he won't return until his ankle injury has fully healed.

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