TONIGHT: Rockets at DALLAS Mavericks When/where: 7:30 p.m.; American Airlines Center.
TV/radio: FSH; 610 AM, 850 AM (Spanish).
Key players: Rockets center Chuck Hayes likely will get playing time against forward Dirk Nowitzki. He does not have to score the way he did in the first five games, but the Rockets will need him at his best defensively. Nowitzki has been outstanding for the Mavs, averaging 26.7 points and eight rebounds.
Rockets (4-2) update: The Rockets have lost 20 of 28 games against Dallas. The Rockets have topped 100 five times this season, their longest streak of 100-point games since the 2007-08 season, winning the four games they reached 100 points in regulation. But they have scored 100 points just four times in their past 17 meetings with the Mavericks.
Mavericks (4-2) update: Like the Rockets , the Mavericks lost their opener and have gone 4-1 since, losing only in overtime. Unlike the Rockets , they have been getting players back from injury, with Josh Howard making his season debut Saturday, starting in the backcourt. The Mavericks blew out the Lakers in Los Angeles on Oct. 30.
Key matchup: Aaron Brooks versus Jason Kidd. With Josh Howard starting at guard, the Rockets don't have the option of matching up Brooks with a small two guard.
For the first time this season, the Rockets will play a team as determined to run as they are. But the Rockets said they will remain determined to be up-tempo.
"That can't change the way we're going to play," coach Rick Adelman said. "We're not a team that can walk it up the court. Dallas can play both ways. We can't play any different, no matter who we play."
Though the Mavericks are one of the NBA's top running teams, Shane Battier said, if anything, the Rockets have to be more determined to get up and down the floor quickly against the Dallas size.
"We have to play quick," Battier said. "We have to play fast. They have so much size, if we try to slow it down, it works in their favor. We have to push the tempo, even faster."
With Josh Howard starting in the Dallas backcourt, the point guards likely will start the game matched up against one another, with Jason Kidd's size advantage going against Aaron Brooks' quickness. But Brooks saw it another way.
"I plan on posting up a bit and J-Kidd probably plans on trying to run past me," Brooks said. "It's going to be interesting."
Seriously, he said: "I've been getting posted up all my life. I ought to be used to it by now and use my advantage, which is my quickness."
Rockets coach Rick Adelman said he will try to play his point guards, Brooks and Kyle Lowry, together when Jason Terry or Jose Barea are in the backcourt.
"It just depends on who they have and how the game is going," Adelman said. "One of them will probably have to guard Kidd, unless they have Barea in there with Terry.
"I think it's something we will certainly try because I like the way those guys are playing."
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