O.J. Mayo scored 16 of his game-high 40 points in the fourth quarter on Saturday to help the Dallas Mavericks rally for a 116-109 victory over the Houston Rockets.
The Rockets welcomed head coach Kevin McHale back to the sidelines for the first time since he took a leave of absence on Nov. 10.
McHale’s 23-year-old daughter Alexandra “Sasha” McHale, who had battled lupus, died on Nov. 24.
Before the game, McHale met briefly with Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle, once his teammate in Boston and still a friend.
“I can’t imagine the emotions he’s gone through in the last month,” Carlisle said. “All of us that know him have been thinking about him and his family, and praying for them a lot over the last several weeks.”
McHale said he felt ready to return.
“It’s been, needless to say, a terrible month, but it just felt like the time to come back and go to work, and be around the guys,” he said.
The Rockets, trying hard to give McHale a victory in his first game back, had 39 points from James Harden, and 18 points and 10 rebounds from Chandler Parsons, but they could not hang onto a fourth-quarter lead and lost for the third time in five games.
Mayo drained six three-pointers and pulled down eight rebounds, while Chris Kaman added 20 points and seven rebounds for Dallas.
“I was just focused on time and scoring,” Mayo said. “Trying to get to .500 was very important for us, and we got there and we have keep continuing to build off of that.”
Darren Collison and Vince Carter contributed 12 points each in the victory, which saw the Mavs improve to 10-10.
The Mavericks were again without Dirk Nowitzki, who is still battling to get his right knee back in playing condition.
The All-Star forward had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in October.
He had hoped to return in the middle of the month, but that now seems unlikely, although Nowitzki said he was encouraged by how his knee is holding up to more intense training.
In the meantime, the Dallas Mavericks still have Mayo.
“Unbelievable performance,” Carlisle said of Mayo. “What he’s showing over the first 20 games is that he can carry a team at times. He was really impressive. He’s real hungry to win.”
Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin was only on court for 18 minutes. He only played in the first and third quarters, finishing with seven points, two rebounds, three assists and two steals.
“That’s their [the coaches’] decision and I totally respect that. We are all in this together. We are on a team,” Lin said in an interview when asked about his short appearance. “I just try to go out there and play hard. I am not disappointed in my effort.”
Additional reporting by staff writer, with CNA
Saturday’s other results:
‧ Heat 106, Hornets 90
‧ Bulls 93, Knicks 85
‧ Hawks 93, Grizzlies 83
‧ Pistons 104, Cavaliers 97
‧ Celtics 92, 76ers 79
‧ Spurs 132, Bobcats 102
‧ Warriors 101, Wizards 97
‧ Clippers 117, Suns 99
‧ Trail Blazers 99, Kings 80