The Dallas Mavericks (1-1) dropped their first division game last night, as they couldn’t escape a rough 1st Quarter start in Houston. It was an ugly start, but there were some positives to take from this one, because the Mavericks never gave in, and actually outplayed Houston for a majority of the next three quarters.
HOW IT WENT DOWN: The Mavericks couldn’t buy a basket to start the ball game, and the Rockets seemed to have no problem on their end. The Mavericks trailed by as many as 22 in this one, but it was Coach Rick Carlisle’s adjustments that allowed the team to crawl their way back.
After giving up 61 points to their highway rivals, the Mavericks decided to play some zone defense, which took away some penetration from the Rockets and didn’t allow them to capture any momentum. At one point, Dwight Howard got fouled, and missed his two free throws badly. Coach Carlisle then decided to go to the Hack-A-Dwight option, where he would miss 4 more free throws, and the Mavericks would get to within six points.
The Mavericks were right back in the game, but some foul trouble kept Dirk Nowitzki off the floor throughout times in the 3rd and 4th Quarters. Dirk would eventually foul out of this one on a call that should have probably never been made. Carlisle would wave the white flag and look ahead to the Saturday night showdown with the Memphis Grizzlies…or so he thought.
The Mavericks bench consisting mostly of Jae Crowder, Gal Mekel, and Ricky Ledo came up with a very late push, in which Crowder knocked down five 3-pointers. In the end, the Mavericks could never get out of the early hole they dug, and fell to the Rockets 113 -105.
IMPACT PLAY OF THE GAME: The Mavericks trailed by 10 with a little over 6 minutes remaining, and were still very alive. James Harden drove to the basket on a transition attack, and Nowitzki chased him, eventually backing away so he wouldn’t pick up his 6th foul. Harden sold the foul pretty good, and made the lay-up. Nowitzki fouled out, and the Mavericks trailed by 13 after the free-throw.
STEP UP MAV OF THE NIGHT: DeJuan Blair
Blair had his best showing as a Maverick to date last night. He was a beast on the glass, hauling in 10 rebounds, 5 of them on the offensive end. He also was very good around the basket, scoring 11 points. He has very quick and soft hands that allows him to be an asset in tough physical games like these.
“I guess I’ve just got to get out of the way. He’s so great at creating contact, so I’ve just got to run to the locker room and let him lay it in.” – DIRK NOWITZKI
“We have to play better at the start of the game. Our play in the first quarter put us in such a hole that we could never get back over the hump.” – RICK CARLISLE
ON DECK: The Mavericks will rush back to Dallas to take on the Memphis Grizzlies tonight at the American Airlines Center. It could be a tired Grizzlies team as they had to fight off the Detroit Pistons last night in Overtime for their first win of the season. Catch all of the coverage on FSSW starting at 7:00. Tip-off is at 7:30.
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