The All-Stars go head-to-head again when the Mavs visit the Rockets at the Toyota Center.
On Dec. 2 in Dallas, Nowitzki led the way with a franchise-record 53 points, 16 rebounds four blocks and three steals to lead the Mavericks past the Rockets 113-106 in overtime.
McGrady scored 48 points and had nine assists and nine rebounds for Houston.
“This was by far one of the best I’ve ever been a part of, two of the league’s superstars both putting their teams on their backs,” Rockets forward Juwan Howard said.
Nowitzki hit his first four shots, including a four-possession sequence that saw him get rebounds on defense and nail jumpers.
The German star opened the fourth quarter with a 9-0 run, assisted on the next basket, then scored again. He scored the first 10 points of overtime, highlighted by a tough three-point play when he was fouled by McGrady on a layup and capped by a high-arcing 3-pointer.
In between, Nowitzki also stripped Jim Jackson on a drive when it was 97-93 and knocked the ball from McGrady on Houston’s next possession.
“There are some nights when the basket had a lid on it, but tonight it looked big,” said Nowitzki, who finished 15-of-32, and was 21-of-22 from the line. “It was amazing.”
McGrady went 19-for-36, including 6-of-13 from 3-point range, but he missed a free throw with 27.1 seconds left in regulation that could’ve won it.
“That was exciting, it was fun,” McGrady said. “I think that was good basketball right there, two guys going at it at a high level. I hope the fans enjoyed it.”
Houston has won three straight since the defeat to Dallas, including an 81-80 victory Thursday over the San Antonio Spurs on a running 3 by McGrady with 1.7 seconds left that capped an incredible one-man rally.
McGrady scored 13 points in the final 35 seconds, including four difficult 3s, to finish with 33 points, eight rebounds and five steals in a terrific clutch performance.
“This game right here should open up our eyes and just start something really good for this team,” he said.
Dallas lost for the second time in three games Thursday, 107-102 to the Seattle SuperSonics, and is just 6-7 since mid-November.
“It’s still early,” said Nowitzki, who scored 27 points and came away with a bruised tailbone on a late collision with Seattle’s Luke Ridnour. “We still have a lot of improving to do on both ends of the court.”
The Mavs have won 12 of the last 15 matchups with the Rockets.