Rockets aim for season sweep of Mavs (Dec 27, 2016)

The last time the Houston Rockets swept a season series from the Dallas Mavericks, Dirk Nowitzki was 19 years old and playing for DJK Wurzburg in Germany.

The first three times Houston beat Dallas this season, Nowitzki did not play.

It is uncertain if Nowitzki will play Tuesday when the Rockets visit the Mavericks and attempt their first season sweep of their divisional rivals since the 1997-98 season.

“I don’t know,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said Monday of Nowitzki’s status. “We’ll know (Tuesday). That’s all I can tell you right now.”

Nowitzki has appeared in only seven games this season due to a strained right Achilles strain. He missed eight games with the injury Nov. 6-21 before playing a combined 47 minutes Nov. 23 and Nov. 25. Nowitzki then missed 14 more games before returning Friday for Dallas’ 90-88 win against the Los Angeles Clippers.

The 38-year-old scored 16 points Friday while playing only in the first half. On Monday in New Orleans, Nowitzki scored 10 points in 17 minutes and also only played the first half in a 111-104 loss.

With or without Nowitzki, the Tuesday meeting is the 16th game against a team over .500 for the Mavericks, who dropped their first 14 games against winning teams before Friday. After Tuesday, nine of the Mavericks’ next 10

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