Game 23: Mavs at Rockets

Game Recap
  • Game Recap
  • Box Score
  • Videos
  • Game Preview
View:

Highlights: Mavs vs. Rockets

Check out all the top plays from Saturday night's game against the Houston Rockets.

HOUSTON — Hoping to continue heading in the right direction 24 hours after their 111-103 victory Friday night over Indiana, the Dallas Mavericks hit the road searching for a quality win away from home against an in-state rival.

Traveling to Houston for a third meeting of the season against the rival Rockets, the Mavericks tried to build on Friday’s victory. The Mavs also attempted to avenge two previous losses at the hands of the Rockets this season by a total of nine points, looking to get the better of their Southwest Division foe Saturday night. But while playing without the services of 13-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki (right Achilles strain), veteran guard J.J. Barea (left calf strain) and starting center Andrew Bogut (right knee injury), the Mavericks (5-18) wouldn’t be able to keep pace with the high-scoring Rockets (17-7) for four quarters before eventually sliding to a 109-87 defeat.

“You know, it’s real tough when you have a night like last night and you put things together, and you can propel. And then 24 hours later, it’s another slow start. For three decent quarters we played decent basketball. But when you start off that way, it’s hard to get one,” Mavs leading scorer Harrison Barnes said after the loss.

Continuing to utilize a starting lineup of point guard Deron Williams, swingman Wesley Matthews, undrafted rookie Dorian Finney-Smith, Barnes and Tunisian center Salah Mejri, the Mavericks tried to get out of the gates quickly to drown out the Toyota Center crowd. However, with early-season MVP candidate James Harden operating as both a scorer and a facilitator, the Rockets would come out aggressively in front of their home crowd in the opening quarter.

Finney-Smith then tried to ignite his team with an end-to-end sequence that began with a block on Rockets forward Ryan Anderson and concluded with a three-pointer from the wing. Matthews lent some assistance after that, continuing to stroke the hot hand after tying his season high with 26 points in Friday’s win. But despite Matthews’ 11 points in the period, the Rockets took a 36-27 lead into the second quarter behind Harden’s 13 points, two rebounds and seven assists in the first 12 minutes of play.

“It’s tough giving up 36 points,” Matthews would later say while addressing the first-quarter struggles. “We fought, we fought back, but we just couldn’t get over the hump. They were playing very loose and free.”

Catching fire from behind the three-point line, the Rockets would assume a double-digit lead quickly in the second stanza. Turning to Williams, though, the Mavs did their best to stay in the game. And with reserve guard Seth Curry providing a boost off the bench, the Mavericks continued to remain competitive in the period.

A corner three-pointer from second-year pro Justin Anderson would follow as the Mavs inched within 10, 57-47. But with sharpshooter Eric Gordon finding a rhythm off the Rockets’ bench, Houston would continue to hold the upper hand. The Rockets then took a 60-49 advantage into the halftime intermission behind Harden’s 13 points and 10 assists through two quarters.

Leaning on Matthews’ 14 points on just 4-of-14 shooting, the Mavericks were outshot through two quarters, 58.3 percent to 41.5 percent. Houston also held a 23-13 rebounding advantage to overshadow the 15 Dallas points scored off the Rockets’ eight first-half turnovers.

“Well, I felt like the first quarter got away from us,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle confessed. “We gave up two long-pass layups, we fouled three-point shooters twice, and we just did things that are cardinal sins against these guys. They’re so good offensively, so I think that kind of a bad start on the road is going to make it harder. We hung in, kept it within 10 or 11 most of the game, but it’s hard getting over the hump.”

Opening up the second half with a three-pointer by Harden, the Rockets continued to keep their foot on the gas in the third quarter. Barnes then did his best to intervene after the Mavs fell behind by 16, converting a three-point play to cut the deficit to 65-52 with 9:07 left in the third. It would prove to be short-lived momentum, however, after Matthews was called for a technical foul while arguing with the officials at the 7:10 mark of the third.

Trevor Ariza then jumped back into the scoring with four three-pointers in the quarter. The Mavs responded with back-to-back triples by Matthews to keep the Rockets from pulling away. But behind Harden’s engineering, the Rockets would soon hold their largest lead of the night to that point at 17, 86-69, as the teams entered the fourth.

Making a small dent in their deficit early in the fourth quarter behind Barnes and third-year big man Dwight Powell, the Mavericks tried to muster up a comeback. But after an and-one score by big man Montrezl Harrell, the Rockets surged to a 92-75 lead with 8:35 remaining.

Back-to-back threes by Rockets guard Patrick Beverley then gave the home team a 100-82 advantage with 4:46 on the game clock, forcing a timeout by Carlisle in the process. Carlisle then made the executive decision to empty his bench, finishing the final 3:59 with the Dallas reserves.

Scoring 26 points on 8-of-22 shooting and 5 of 13 from three-point range, Matthews led the Mavs in a losing effort. Barnes pitched in 20 points in the first unit on 7 of 13 from the field, and Finney-Snith added 11 points as a starter.

Harden just missed out on a triple-double with 18 points on 4 of 12 from the field, nine rebounds and 16 assists to lead six Rockets in double figures. The Rockets also outshot the Mavs for the game, 50 percent to 40.5 percent, adding a 48-32 rebounding advantage to overcome their 15 turnovers for 19 Dallas points.

“You know, that first quarter we let them get 36 points, and that kind of put us behind the eight ball,” Barnes concluded. “The other quarters, I thought we did a better job of trying to contain them. But they were feeling comfortable, had a lead, and everyone started throwing in shots. It wasn’t just James. It was Ariza, Beverley, Gordon and Harrell throwing in threes, so it was just one of those nights.”

Note: The Mavericks will now return to American Airlines Center on Monday night, hosting the Denver Nuggets. That game will tip off at 7:30 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. It will also air in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by visiting Mavs.com, or by calling (214) 747-MAVS.

Injury updates:

Andrew Bogut (right knee injury) — out

Dirk Nowitzki (right Achilles strain) — out

J.J. Barea (left calf strain) — out

Mavericks

All Stats

PLAYER MIN FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
H. Barnes, F 32 7-13 1-1 5-5 2 2 4 1 1 0 2 2 -11 20
D. Finney-Smith, F 30 5-9 1-3 0-0 1 3 4 0 1 2 0 2 -13 11
S. Mejri, C 11 0-1 0-0 0-0 1 2 3 0 1 1 1 3 -12 0
W. Matthews, G 35 8-22 5-13 5-7 1 2 3 2 1 0 0 1 -15 26
D. Williams, G 31 3-10 1-4 2-2 0 3 3 6 0 0 0 2 -12 9
D. Powell 26 4-4 0-0 0-0 1 5 6 2 2 0 1 1 -9 8
D. Harris 4 0-1 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 -2 0
S. Curry 26 3-5 1-2 0-0 0 3 3 3 1 0 0 1 -7 7
N. Brussino 12 0-2 0-1 0-0 0 2 2 1 0 0 1 1 -7 0
J. Anderson 11 2-7 2-6 0-0 0 3 3 0 0 0 2 3 -9 6
J. Gibson 14 0-5 0-3 0-0 0 0 0 2 0 0 1 2 -7 0
A. Hammons 3 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 -6 0
A. Bogut 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
J. Barea 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
D. Nowitzki 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
TEAM   32-79 11-34 12-14 6 26 32 18 7 3 9 18   87
    40.5% 32.4%                      

Show Bench Hide Bench

Rockets

All Stats

PLAYER MIN FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
T. Ariza, F 32 6-11 4-8 1-2 0 7 7 1 0 0 2 0 14 17
R. Anderson, F 30 2-8 0-3 0-0 0 7 7 1 0 0 1 1 13 4
C. Capela, C 27 4-8 0-0 5-7 5 5 10 2 0 0 1 4 10 13
P. Beverley, G 28 5-7 4-6 1-2 1 6 7 2 1 0 1 4 9 15
J. Harden, G 39 4-12 2-8 8-10 0 9 9 17 2 0 4 1 21 18
E. Gordon 26 6-14 6-9 0-0 1 0 1 3 0 0 2 2 12 18
M. Harrell 18 5-6 1-1 1-1 2 0 2 1 1 0 0 1 9 12
S. Dekker 22 4-7 1-1 0-0 1 3 4 2 0 0 3 2 14 9
C. Brewer 11 1-1 1-1 0-0 0 1 1 2 0 1 1 1 2 3
T. Ennis 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
K. McDaniels 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
. Nene 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
C. Onuaku 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
K. Wiltjer 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
TEAM   37-74 19-37 16-22 10 38 48 31 4 1 15 16   109
    50.0% 51.4%                      

Show Bench Hide Bench

Highlights: Wesley Matthews scores 26

Wesley Matthews scored a game-high 26 points Saturday against the Rockets. The third consecutive night he's hit that mark.

Highlights: Wesley Matthews scores 26

Wesley Matthews scored a game-high 26 points Saturday against the Rockets. The third consecutive night he's hit that mark.

HOUSTON — After responding to one of their most disappointing losses of the season with a 111-103 victory Friday night over Indiana to conclude a four-game homestand, the Dallas Mavericks will look to keep trending in the right direction just 24 hours later.

Suffering a lopsided 120-89 loss Wednesday against Sacramento, the Mavericks (5-17) used that disappointing defeat as motivation two nights later against the Pacers. The shorthanded Mavs also picked up the slack minus three of their top contributors, continuing to play without the services of 13-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki (right Achilles strain), veteran guard J.J. Barea (left calf strain) and starting center Andrew Bogut (right knee injury). Now, the Mavericks will attempt to do something they failed at twice already this season against the Southwest Division rival Houston Rockets, looking to avenge those previous losses in the third showdown Saturday night at the Toyota Center.

“We just had to play basketball, and play basketball the way that we know how,” swingman Wesley Matthews said after leading the way to Friday’s victory with 26 points on 8-of-16 shooting and 5 of 10 from three-point range. “We played basketball the way we’ve been doing with the exception of (Wednesday’s game). That game ate at a lot of people, as it should have. I was embarrassed, and I think a lot of people were, too. So, we came out and treated it as if it’s a blessing to be able to play this sport, and we went hard together. … I’m just proud of the way that we stepped up and proud of the way that we played.”

Facing perennial All-Star and early-season MVP candidate James Harden and the Rockets (16-7) to conclude their back-to-back, the Mavericks will now try to build on Friday’s win with a similar performance away from home. But after falling to the Rockets twice within the first three games of the 2016-17 season, the Mavs know they’ll have to raise their level of play in order to return home with a win under their belt.

Led by sharpshooter Trevor Ariza’s 27 points and Harden’s 26, the Rockets captured a 106-98 victory in Dallas back on Oct. 28 to ruin the Mavericks’ home opener. Harden then scored 28 points on 8-of-23 shooting and made a free throw with .1 seconds remaining to give the Rockets a 93-92 win over the Mavs in Houston on Oct. 30. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound Harden is averaging 28.2 points, 7.6 rebounds and 11.4 assists so far this season. And although Harden is shooting just 41.5 percent from the field against the Dallas defense in two games this season, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle knows his team will have its hands full with trying to stop the lethal offensive threat Saturday night.

“Well, he’s a superstar,” Carlisle said while speaking highly of Harden’s abilities. “He’s a great player, and he’s one of the most difficult matchups we’ve had in the league for the last six or seven years. And you know, with him now handling the ball virtually all the time, it makes it even harder. It’s obviously a team responsibility, but we’re also going to have to throw a lot of guys at him and try to make it as hard as possible. But you’re not going to completely shut down a great player. It just doesn’t happen.”

Note: The Mavericks will now travel to Houston to complete their back-to-back against the rival Rockets. Houston leads the season series 2-0. The game will tip off at 7 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. It will also air in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270.

The Mavs return to American Airlines Center on Monday night, hosting the Denver Nuggets. That game will tip off at 7:30 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. It will also air in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by visiting Mavs.com, or by calling (214) 747-MAVS.

Injury updates:

Andrew Bogut (right knee injury) — out

Dirk Nowitzki (right Achilles strain) — out

J.J. Barea (left calf strain) — out