DALLAS: The Dallas Mavericks stayed alive in the NBA playoffs on Sunday (Monday in Manila) 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.
Los Angeles snapped a two-game losing streak in the series and will try to edge ahead when they host game five on Tuesday.