The Houston coach's return to the sidelines for the first time since his daughter's death last month was not enough to prevent his side going down 116-109 to Dallas.
NBA: Mayo spoils emotional return for Rockets coach Kevin McHale
O.J. Mayo scored 16 of his game-high 40 points in the fourth quarter Saturday to help Dallas rally for a 116-109 NBA victory over the Houston Rockets.
The Rockets welcomed head coach Kevin McHale back to the sideline for the first time since the death of his daughter Alexandra last month.
Before the game, McHale met briefly with Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle, once his teammate in Boston and still a friend.
"I can't imagine the emotions he's gone through in the last month," Carlisle said. "All of us that know him have been thinking about him and his family and praying for them a lot over the last several weeks.
"This represents him stepping back into the fray here, and it's an important deal."
McHale said he felt ready to return.
"It's been, needless to say, a terrible month. But it just felt like the time to come back and go to work and be around the guys," he said.
The Rockets, trying hard to give McHale a victory in his first game back, had 39 points from James Harden and 18 points and 10 rebounds from Chandler Parsons
But Houston could not hang onto a fourth-quarter lead, losing for the third time in five games.
"We've got to get more emotion and more thrust in our offence, especially down the stretch," McHale said.
"We have to play with more pace in the fourth quarter."
Mayo drained six three-pointers and pulled down eight rebounds, while Chris Kaman added 20 points and seven rebounds for Dallas.
"I was just focused on time and scoring," Mayo said. "Trying to get to .500 was very important for us and we got there and we have keep continuing to build off of that."
Danny Green's 23 points led the San Antonio Spurs to a 132-102 demolition of the Charlotte Bobcats as they improved their record to an NBA-best 17-4.
Green sunk seven of the Spurs' franchise-record 19 three-pointers, while Tony Parker added 22 points and nine assists in their fourth straight win.
Kemba Walker scored 23 points for the Bobcats, who suffered their seventh defeat in a row.
The win put the Spurs ahead of their South-west rivals the Memphis Grizzlies, who lost 93-83 to the impressive Atlanta Hawks.
Josh Smith led the Hawks to their ninth win in 10 with 24 points, while Lou Williams added 21.
The Los Angeles Clippers extended their winning streak to five games as they saw off the Phoenix Suns 117-99 on the back of 24 points from Blake Griffin.
Michael Beasley scored 21 for the Suns, who slipped to their sixth straight defeat.
The Miami Heat leaned on Dwayne Wade and LeBron James in a 106-90 win over the New Orleans Hornets.
Wade scored 26 points, while James added seven assists to his 24-point haul.
Brandon Knight registered a career-best 30 points in the Detroit Pistons' 104-97 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, while the Boston Celtics beat the Philadelphia 76ers 92-79.
The Chicago Bulls saw off the New York Knicks 93-85, the Golden State Warriors were 101-97 winners over the Washington Wizards and the Sacramento Kings eased past the Portland Trail Blazers 99-80.
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