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NBA: Dallas 111, Houston 106

DALLAS, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- A key basket by J.J. Barea and clutch free throw shooting Thursday saved Dallas from a huge meltdown and boosted the Mavericks to a 111-106 win over Houston.

Dallas raced to an 18-point lead after one quarter and built the advantage to 25 during the second period, but then had to spend the rest of the game fighting off a Houston rally.

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The Rockets got within three during the third period before Dallas extended its lead back to 12. Houston then made another run and closed within two on a layup by Luis Scola with 51 seconds to play.

After Barea made his jumper with 37 seconds left to extend the cushion to four points, Jason Terry and Dirk Nowitzki combined to make 7-of-8 free throws down the stretch.

Dallas did not wrap up the victory until Terry hit two from the line with 10 seconds remaining for the final points of the game.

Tyson Chandler scored 21 points to go with 15 rebounds, helping the Mavericks win their third straight. Barea had 19 points and Nowitzki scored 18.

Scola paced the Rockets with 30 points. Houston had won its previous two games.

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