Coming off an overtime win in Portland on Tuesday night, the Mavericks returned home on Friday to square off with the Houston Rockets.
And despite erasing multiple double-digit deficits, Dallas (11-9) was unable to overcome Houston’s (9-11) perimeter shooting and was defeated 100-96.
Rocket’s guard James Harden led all scorers with 25 points, including a dagger with 7.3 seconds remaining in regulation that put Houston up by four. Harden pestered the Mavericks all night and even flirted with a triple double, finishing with a 25/8/9 line.
“The defense was great and the shot was spectacular,” Carlisle said. “And maybe it was a little lucky. But [Wesley Matthews] played it great.”
Fortunately for Dallas, point guard Deron Williams continued to have the hot hand and matched Harden nearly every step of the way. Williams finished with 22 points and dished out six dimes. It just was simply not enough to down the Rockets, who made 12 three pointers and shot 46.4 percent from the field.
In fact, it was the Rockets three point shooting kept them in the game during the first quarter. Houston shot 63.6 percent from beyond the arc and jumped out to an early seven point lead. The Mavericks got a spark off the bench from Chandler Parsons, who was experimenting with a new sixth man role. Upon entering the game, Dallas promptly went on a 12-0 run to tie the game before the quarter ended.
“It was his idea,” Carlisle said. “He came to me with it. And I like it. With the minutes restriction, if we don’t do something like this, he’s going to continue to get shut down in the third quarter.”
But Houston regained its lead in the second quarter due in large part to a 12-2 run of its own. The Maverick’s inability to close out on Houston’s shooters resulted in the Rockets knocking down 11 first half three pointers and was the primary reason Dallas entered the locker room at halftime trailing 57-53.
“We have to be a grit and guts team,” Carlisle said. “We have to put 48 complete minutes together.”
The Mavericks also continued to struggle shooting the three ball and came out cold to start the third quarter. Dallas shot just 27.6 percent from beyond the arc, a statistic Houston took advantage of.
Many times the Rockets packed the paint and dared Dallas to shoot. Guard Wesley Matthews continued to struggle and finished with five points on 1 of 9 shooting.
Carlisle said he does not think anything is mechanically wrong with Mathhews’ shot and is just going through a cold spell.
“He just has to stay with it,” Carlisle said. “He has to stay the course. We’ve had some bad luck overall as a team with shot making.”
Next Up: Dallas travels to Washington to take on the Wizards. Tipoff is set for 5:00 p.m.
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