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Harden, Howard lift Rockets over Mavs

Houston, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - James Harden had 34 points and four steals and the Houston Rockets beat the Dallas Mavericks 113-105 on Friday.

Harden went 11-of-17 from the floor, including 4-of-8 from 3-point range for the Rockets, who started the season with a 96-83 win over the Bobcats on Wednesday.

Jeremy Lin added 14 points and three steals for Houston, which won despite turning the ball over 23 times. Dwight Howard, who had 26 rebounds on Wednesday, recorded a double-double with 13 points and 16 boards.

Dirk Nowitzki had 22 points before fouling out for the Mavericks, who opened the season with a win over the Hawks on Wednesday. Monta Ellis donated 20 points and three steals.

The Rockets set the tone with a 38-point first quarter. Holding a 7-6 lead with 9:04 left in the opening frame, Houston went on an 18-6 run to create some distance. Harden and Howard both tallied six points during the surge the Aaron Brooks capped with a 3-pointer for a 25-12 margin.

Brooks added three free throws at the end of the first to make it a 38-22 contest.

"We have to play better at the start of the game. Our play in the first quarter put us in such a hole that we could never get back over the hump and every minute counts in an NBA game," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. "When you fall down double digits in the first quarter, you are going to be digging out of a hole the entire night and this is too good of a team to do that against."

Houston's lead reached 22 in the second. Ahead 42-29 with 8:50 remaining, the Rockets went on an 11-2 spurt. Lin's reverse layup with 5:53 left made it 53-31.

Ellis scored the final four points of the period to get Dallas within 11, 61-50, at the half.

The Rockets maintained their lead in the second half and cruised to victory.

During the third quarter, the Mavericks used a strategy to consistently foul Howard. He went 3-of-10 in that quarter.

"He's had it done to him before. I'm sure that (other teams) will do it again," Rockets coach Kevin McHale said. "He just has to step up. He'll make his free throws. He'll shoot better as the year goes on."

Game Notes

The Mavericks had won 10 of their last 11 against the Rockets ... Brooks and Omri Casspi had 13 and 12 points, respectively, for Houston, which shot 46.6 percent from the floor ... Jae Crowder ended with 15 points for Dallas, which shot 38 percent.

11/02 00:29:38 ET