The Rockets dominated the first 42 minutes of play before falling apart in Dallas.
The Rockets had a 14-point lead heading into the fourth quarter but were never able to pull away from the Mavericks. The Mavericks put the pedal to the metal in the fourth and scored 36 points in the quarter. The Rockets defense wasn’t there all game but it was magnified in the fourth when the Rockets offense fell apart as well.
Up just a few points late in the fourth, the Rockets still had their chances to ice the game but turnovers and missed opportunities gave the Mavericks a three-point lead with just under 7 seconds to go. It appeared as if Shawn Marion was trying to foul James Harden before the three-point attempt, but no call was made as the shot missed its target, and gave the Mavericks as 123-120 win over the Rockets.
Dwight Howard was dominant in his first game against Marc Cuban’s Mavericks. Earlier this season, Cuban said (on Howard’s choice to go to Houston), “Obviously, he made a mistake in judgment. Do I blame him? No, that’s what young kids do. They make mistakes in judgment.” Howard responded tonight by finishing with 33 points (12-16 FG, 9-13 FT) and 11 rebounds.
The Rockets were red-hot through the first three quarters tonight, and put up 40 points in the first quarter, their second time scoring 40 in a quarter the last two nights. The Rockets shot 15-20 (75%) in the first quarter, including five three-pointers. James Harden and Terrence Jones each had 9 points in the first quarter, which put the Rockets up 11 early. Harden would finish with 23 points and 8 assists while Jones would finish 18 points.
The Rockets only shot 11-18 (61%) in the second quarter which was enough to give the Rockets a 68-61 lead at the half. Parsons had 18 points and 8 assists alone in the first half (finished with 21 and 11). Though the offense was moving smoothly, the defense was having its usual problems. The Mavericks shot 22-37 (59.5%) in the first half, with Monta Ellis dropping 23 points and Dirk Nowitzki dropping 17 of his own.
The defense continues to be the achilles heel of this Rockets team. Monta Ellis and Dirk Nowitzki combined for 72 of the Mavericks 123 points. Jose Calderon and Shawn Marion each put in 13 themselves.
Offensively, the Rockets starters shot well, though the bench hurt them big time. Jeremy Lin finished with 1 point on 0-5 shooting, while Omer Asik and Francisco Garcia combined for 4 points. Omri Casspi was the only bench player in double figures with 11 points.
The Rockets have another two days off before facing the Minnesota Timberwolves at Toyota Center. Tipoff is scheduled for this Saturday at 7:00 PM and can be seen on both CSN Houston and NBA TV.