The Mavericks haven’t always played great defense this season. In fact, it’s been hard to find many moments when they have bowed up and stopped somebody.

But Shawn Marion applied probably the best defense of the season when the Mavericks needed it most Wednesday night against one of the NBA’s best scorers.

Marion stopped James Harden twice in the final four minutes to help the Mavericks rebound from the humiliating loss in Houston on Sunday with a 112-108 victory over the Rockets at American Airlines Center.

Marion forced Harden to take a no-chance, step-back 3-pointer to keep the Mavericks within 104-102. Then, after O.J. Mayo had put the Mavericks ahead to stay, Marion forced a difficult shot in the paint from Harden, who could not connect with 6.7 seconds to go and the ball went out of bounds off the Rockets.

“My thing is, I’m going to do what I can to make it hard,” said Marion. “But when guys are in so many pick and rolls, it’s tough.”

Marion added that the Mavericks had to show some resolve after the 33-point whipping they absorbed in Houston Sunday. Interestingly, the Mavericks won the season series 3-1, even though their three wins were only by a total of 16 points.

“I was taking it personally when we were playing (in Houston),” said Marion. “I don’t need to get beat to take it personally. I’m a competitor. They embarrassed us as a team. You win and lose as a team. But you got to have some pride in you.”

That showed up in the form of Marion’s defense. And in Mayo’s floor game, which was special. He had a career-best 12 assists.