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Rockets vs. Mavericks game thread: Is tonight a must-win game?

Call it a "must-perform" game.

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The Rockets have quietly won three of their last four games. Yes, one was against the Sixers, another was against a Carmelo Anthony-less Knicks and the last one was against a beaten-up Pelicans team with just four wins. But they've won each in a different way, and signs are starting to point to life.

The Rockets will be without Dwight Howard tonight to challenge the all-powerful Zaza Pachulia, and meaning Clint Capela will slide to center and Terrence Jones will be tasked with guarding a still-really-good Dirk Nowitzki — the same player who briefly tormented Jones in the playoffs last year.

The Mavericks are a winning team, but they have vulnerabilities the Rockets know well. Ty Lawson, if he is indeed back, can exploit his matchup. James Harden is going against a recovering Wes Matthews. Chandler Parsons is good for a choke.

If the Rockets lose big to another good team, I'm going to lose another chunk of faith tonight.