Rockets start fast, finish from deep in win over Mavs
After hoisting 10 threes in the first quarter, it was obvious what kind of game the Rockets wanted to play — theirs.
Dallas followed its win over Washington with a 104-97 loss against the Rockets. Led by head coach Mike D’Antoni, Houston hoisted 51 total three-point attempts in the contest, netting 21 from beyond the arc.
The Rockets currently lead all NBA teams in three point attempts per game with 43. The game plan wouldn’t change much against the Mavs behind All Star guard James Harden.
Dallas allowed 38 points in the opening quarter. The Mavericks responded by limiting Houston to just 13 points in the second quarter, keeping the game in reach.
“We hung in and kept playing,” said Carlisle following the loss. “[We] got to six at halftime, which I think was a positive.”
After opening the third quarter trailing 51-45, Dallas appeared eager to push the tempo out of halftime.
“In the third we just fell behind again and it was a tough game,” Carlisle expressed.
“These guys are really good and they hit you hard and they hit you quick. So we needed to be better in those moments: early first, early third. But I thought we did a few good things. We just didn’t have enough tonight.”
The Rockets returned to their first quarter success out of halftime. Houston scored 34 points in the third, taking an 85-67 lead into the final quarter.
Wesley Matthews led all Mavs scorers with 29 points and seven three-point baskets while Yogi Ferrell added 19 points off the bench.
Rookie guard Dennis Smith Jr. finished with 11 points and 6 assists in the loss. Dirk Nowitzki added 7 points in 15 minutes. The 20-year veteran was unable to finish the game due to what Carlisle characterized as a ‘stomach thing’.
“Dirk didn’t feel well in the second half,” Carlisle revealed. “He just didn’t feel like he could go back in the game. So that’s why he didn’t play down the stretch at all — other than his first rotation in the third.
“[Nowitzki] just wasn’t feeling well. It was a stomach thing or something like that. I had it a couple nights ago, too. I don’t think you want to hear the details of it.”
Hopefully Nowitzki is well enough to rejoin the lineup when Dallas returns to action. The Mavs are back on the court at 7:30 p.m. on Friday when Dallas hosts Portland from American Airlines Center.
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