It pains Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki considerably that he will have arguably the second-longest beard in the building as the Mavericks and Rockets meet today at Toyota Center for the opener of a home-and-home series that will be significant for both teams.

Nowitzki, alas, has only himself to blame. It was he who agreed with several teammates last month to forego shaving until the Mavericks make it to .500 in the standings, and he’s reminded of his pledge every time he looks in the mirror.

“It’s not a good look,” he said. “My wife doesn’t like it that much. But I guess we’ve all got to suck it up and reach our goal.”

The Mavericks are 26-32, so the beards will survive these next two games Sunday and Wednesday night in Dallas against The Beard, Rockets guard James Harden.

But history gives the Mavericks cause for optimism. They are 9-0 against their I-45 rivals since the Rockets’ last win on Dec. 31, 2009. Dallas didn’t even need Nowitzki, who missed the first 27 games after undergoing preseason arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, in a 116-109 win in December as guard O.J. Mayo tied a career high with 40 points.

Nowitzki is averaging 19.9 points and 9.5 rebounds over his last eight games, and he had 21 points with 20 rebounds on Feb. 26 against the Bucks for his sixth career 20-20 game.