LAS VEGAS – Looking to pick up where they left off in their summer league opening win over Brooklyn a day earlier, the Dallas Mavericks ran circles around the Houston Rockets on Saturday with a convincing 113-81 victory at Cox Pavilion.
The Mavs shot a sizzling 53.1 percent from the field and converted 17 of their 37 shots from 3-point range in running their MGM Resorts NBA Summer League record to 2-0. After taking Sunday off, the Mavs will next play the Sacramento Kings on Monday at 2:30 p.m. CT at the Thomas & Mack Center.
Once again, hard play, attacking the basket, diving for loose balls and sharing the basketball was the formula the Mavs used to upend their I-45 rivals.
“I said it (Friday) and I’m going to say it again,” coach Mike Weinar said. “It’s cohesion. We had 25 assists, 15 turnovers, 48 points in the paint.
“Those are numbers that’ll get you productivity, those numbers will get you results. It’s based on the hard play, it’s based on how they’re playing together, picking guys up, getting off the floor. We had several guys with loose balls on the floor today. The genesis of that is the hard play.”
No play better exhibited the Mavs’ hard play than early in the third quarter when they had mounted a 69-40 lead, guard Daryl Macon went on the floor near midcourt for a loose ball. That hustle play got the entire Mavs’ bench on their collective feet to loudly cheer for Macon’s effort.
“It’s an example of I just wanted to play hard until the final buzzer,” said Macon, who collected a team-high 16 points in 24 minutes. “I was just showing people who we are.
“We played as a team. We were on our offensive game, we played solid defense and we went out there and we did our thing tonight.”
Rookie forward Isaiah Roby (14 points, seven rebounds, two steals) set the tone for the Mavs as he took the game’s opening possession and rolled to the hole for a thunder dunk. The Mavs took it from there as they led 32-19 after the first quarter, 59-38 at the half and 84-58 after three quarters while overall just completely dominating the Rockets.
“He’s a hard-playing guy, he can be versatile, play multiple positions,” Weinar said of Roby. “That’s kind of who he is and who he is right now, and hopefully he continues to grow.”
As the game unfolded, that Mavs’ lead continued to grow as they led by as much as 35 points (78-43) late in the third quarter when Yudai Baba scored inside via a feed from Macon.
“His numbers again, just like (Friday), aren’t overly impressive,” Weinar said, referring to Baba, who had eight points in 17 minutes. “But his hard play, he’s one of the foundational guys with that on our team as far these two games.
“It’s encouraging what he brings to the floor – his effort – and really it’s infectious. It’s infectious in a positive way.”
Also for the Mavs, Josh Reaves came off to bench to pour in 13 points and supply some sticky defense. And Cameron Payne added 10 points, a team-high eight rebounds, a game-high six assists and a game-high four steals.
Meanwhile, the Mavs held the Rockets to 37.7 percent shooting, forced them to miss 29 of their 40 attempts from 3-point range, and also won the battle of the boards, 43-33.
“I think we play together as a team,” said Antonius Cleveland, who finished with 13 points and five rebounds. “I think we kind of mess up because we’re too unselfish at times while making too many extra passes.
“But I think we’re all together – the cohesiveness is there. And on the defensive end we feed off one another and we listen to coach.”
And by listening to Weinar and following his instructions, hustle plays like the one Macon made have become the norm for the Mavs.
“Stuff like that is contagious,” Cleveland said. “It just seems like we’re all out there playing for something, which we are.
“So I guess that’s why we stand out the way we do on the defensive end against these other teams.”