By: Alex Del Barrio, Sportsradio 610By Alex Del Barrio

DALLAS (CBS HOUSTON) – The Houston Rockets outscored the Dallas Mavericks 31-18 in the fourth quarter en route to a 108-101 victory Thursday night at the American Airlines Center.

The victory pushes the Rockets (52-24) back into the second seed in the Western Conference standings as they now hold a 1/2 game lead over the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Rockets found themselves trailing 55-47 at the intermission.

James Harden, a day after scoring a career high 51 against Sacramento, led four Rockets in double figures with 24 points, adding six assists.

The Rockets slowed down offensively nearing halftime as they were held scoreless in the final 2:47 of the 2nd quarter.

The second half was much different for the Rockets as they outscored Dallas 61-46. The defense was certainly a factor, especially in the final quarter.

“They really came in (during) the fourth quarter and just really gelled and moved the ball well,” Rockets head coach Kevin McHale said. “We got up and and down and got fouled, (Harden) was attacking… guys made shots.”

The Mavericks (46-30) were without former Rocket Chandler Parsons for a large portion of the second half, leaving with soreness in his right knee. He finished with 11 points.

Dirk Nowitzki led Dallas in scoring with 21 points. Monta Ellis added 19 in the loss for the Mavericks.

The Mavericks, like the Rockets we on the second half of a back-to-back; beating Oklahoma City on Wednesday. The Mavericks are currently seventh in the West and would face the Rockets if the the season ended today.

The Rockets, had to find a way to come-back on the road in the second game in as many night. The win was important as they try to get ready for postseason play. The message in the locker room was simple after trailing by eight.

“I told them just worry about the defensive end, the offensive end will take care of itself,” McHale added. “That’s a hell of a win. We were down and found a way to keep battling and got a win.”

Dwight Howard played 18 minutes and scored eight points and grabbed seven rebounds in limited action as he works his way back into the line-up.

Jason Terry, who scored 10 points, broke a 95-95 tie with a three at the 4:07 mark to give Houston a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Josh Smith chipped in with a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds, while Trevor Ariza added 19 points six rebounds and six assists for the Rockets.

The Rockets have six games remaining on the schedule before the playoffs begin. They will face the Thunder on Sunday in Oklahoma City.

Alex Del Barrio can be heard on Saturday afternoons on Sportsradio 610. Follow Alex Del Barrio on Twitter: @ADBSportsguy