Behind 48 From Irving, Mavericks Rally To Beat Rockets In overtime; Houston Eliminated From Playoff Race

The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Houston Rockets 147-136 on Sunday after Kyrie Irving recorded a season-high 48 points and Dante Exum forced overtime with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer. Dallas Mavericks rallied from a 22-point deficit.

Luka Doncic contributed to the Mavericks' advancement toward the fifth seed in the Western Conference semifinals with 37 points, 12 assists, and nine rebounds.

Fred VanVleet added 24 points and 12 assists for the Rockets, who were eliminated from postseason contention after trailing for only the final three minutes of regulation. Dillon Brooks recorded a season-high 29 points.

The Rockets were eliminated from playoff contention with their fifth consecutive loss; they are unable to close the gap on Golden State for the No. 10 seed in the Western Conference.

Jabari Smith Jr. missed two free throws with 8.3 seconds remaining in regulation and Houston leading by three. Timeouts had expired for Dallas, so Exum hurried up the court and completed a pass to Doncic.

The Dallas star feigned a shot as he dribbled toward midcourt before passing the ball to Exum, whose three-pointer over Smith expired the shot clock.

Irving, who accumulated 25 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, made two free throws in the extra period to give Dallas a 133-131 lead.

With 33 seconds remaining, Washington, which had 14 points and 13 rebounds, defeated the Rockets with consecutive corner three-pointers to take a nine-point lead. Exum tallied nine rebounds in addition to fourteen points.

In their quest for a guaranteed position in the Western Conference playoffs, the Mavericks have won 14 of 16. Conversely, Dallas has a 22-7 record in the 29 games that Irving has participated in since his return from a thumb injury.

Houston, which was already without Alperen Sengun due to an ankle injury, was without Amen Thompson for the majority of the game. The rookie starter was dismissed in the first quarter following a flagrant two-point penalty and a shove to the neck of Maxi Kleber with his forearm.

Irving, who tied his career high with 15 free throws on 17 attempts for the Mavs, provided the visitors with the initial lead with 3:01 remaining in the fourth quarter via two free throws.

Five more lead changes occurred over the next two minutes before former Maverick Reggie Bullock Jr.'s 3-pointer with 58 seconds remaining gave the Rockets a 128-126 advantage.

Although Jalen Green contributed with 21 points and eight assists, his shooting percentage of 6 for 15 limited the Rockets to the lead, which they held by a score of 24-5 in the first, 22 points in the second, and 10 early in the fourth.