Final: Mavs 110, Rockets 98
Box Score | Highlights
Behind the Box Score
Dallas limited the Rockets to just 0.69 points per possession in the first half, taking a 57-34 lead at the break. That included a 0-of-10 shooting line from superstar shooting guard James Harden. Terrific defensive half by the Mavs, who were playing without Dirk Nowitzki, Chandler Parsons, and Wesley Matthews.
A major Houston run in the third quarter made the game pretty close, but Dallas still played good offense in the frame, scoring 1.087 points per possession. Although the team’s top shooting guard, small forward, and power forward were all unavailable, the Mavs still rolled out a team made up of mostly veterans who have all been in hostile situations before. This wasn’t new to them, and it showed as they absorbed Houston hay-makers and responded with their own.
Here’s all you need to know about Raymond Felton’s night.
Dallas surged out to a 25-point lead at the beginning of the third quarter, but Houston wasted no time getting back into it. Before you knew it, the lead was down to just 14. If you jump out to a large lead, you’ve got to be prepared weather the storm as the trailing team fights back, especially on the road. Ultimately, Dallas led by 15, 82-67, after three frames.
The Mavs’ first play of the second quarter was an alley-oop set designed for Jeremy Evans. It’s a beautiful play. Evans sets a screen at the elbow for a diving guard and then moves to the corner as if to set a pin-down. But instead of actually screening, he cuts to the rim and looks for the lob. It works every time. He’d throw down another dunk a few minutes later, as well.
Playing without Dwight Howard, Houston only had one center, Clint Capela, available to play. While he rested, Houston was playing under-sized, so the Rockets made up for that by sitting in a 2-3 zone in an effort to keep the Mavs on the perimeter. The key to beating any zone is sharp ball movement, cutting, and good shooting. Dallas did well against the zone, often finding quality shots. Dallas scored 1.455 points per possession against the zone.
Mid-way through the fourth quarter, Raymond Felton drew a flagrant-one foul. As Harden drove through the lane, he brought the ball up and elbowed Felton in the face en route to the rim. It was deemed not a natural basketball move, so the Mavs got two foul shots and the ball. On the ensuing possession, J.J. Barea drove the lane, hit a floater, and was fouled. Huge swing.
The Mavs (6-4) play the Philadelphia 76ers (0-9) Monday at the Wells Fargo Center. Tip-off is at 6 p.m. Central.