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by: Kris Gardner, United States Basketball Writers Association member. Credentialed media member since 1997. USBWA approved online journalist. Voter of Katrina McClain, Naismith, USBWA, and Wooden awards.
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Rockets lose to Mavs, 113-100
POSTED: January 4, 2021 -- 11:55 p.m. CT
HOUSTON, TX (Toyota Center) -- The Houston Rockets lost to the Dallas Mavericks 113-100 Monday night. The Rockets' offense was stagnant much of the ball game; and, Rockets' Head Coach Stephen Silas was not happy at all with the offense.
"We kind of reverted back to isolation basketball," Silas said after the game. "We didn't put enough pressure on their defense. We didn't move their defense around.
"Obviously, it's a process. Flipping that switch; but, we were way too stagnant. We didn't move the ball enough to put pressure on them and make it hard on them."
Houston (2-3) only led once in the ball game: 2-0, after James Harden made two free throws 39 seconds into the game. Dallas' Dorian Finney-Smith converted a three-point play for a 3-2 Mavs' lead. Dallas led the rest of the ball game.
Dallas (3-4) jumped to a 12-2 lead and led 33-19 late in the first quarter. Houston trailed 33-21 at the end of the first quarter.
Houston made 6 of 17 (35.3%) field goals in the first period.
Houston's offense perked up in the second quarter with 10 baskets on 22 attempts. Houston's Christian Wood scored 13 of the team's 28 second quarter points. Wood scored a team-high 15 points in the first half. Wood finished the game with a team-high 23 points to lead Houston.
The Rockets trailed the Mavs 61-49 at halftime. Dallas' Luka Doncic scored a game-high 20 points in the half.
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Less than two minutes into the third quarter, Houston trailed by 18 (67-49); however, the Rockets' switching defense helped disrupt the Mavs' offense; and, Houston's offense responded with a 25-8 run to climb within 1 (75-74) of the Mavs with 2:26 remaining in the third quarter.
Doncic and Tim Hardaway Jr combined for 7 of Dallas' 9 points during a 9-3 spurt to end the third quarter.
Eric Gordon sank three free throws to spark an 8-1 Rockets' run. Sterling Brown capped off the 8-1 run with a three-point basket to tie the game at 85 with an even 10 minutes on the game clock.
Houston trailed 94-92 when Doncic scored a driving layup to kick start a 12-0 Mavs' run. Doncic and Hardaway Jr each scored 5 points during the run.
The Rockets failed to get within single digits in the 3:04 of the game.
Houston made 5 of 17 field goal attempts (29.4%) in the fourth quarter.
The Mavs outscored the Rockets 22-6 in second chance points. Houston has been outscored by an average of 8.0 second chance points this season.
Houston lost despite having a season-low 12 turnovers. The Rockets were just 13-10 when having 12 or fewer turnovers last season.
Harden scored 21 points and dished out 10 assists; however, he shot 5 for 17 from the floor. Dallas trapped him to get the ball out of his hands; and, despite Harden's 10 dimes, the Rockets didn't punish the Mavs' traps and double teams enough in the game.
"We need to get the ball to the middle of the floor and take advantage of the weak side of the floor," Coach Silas commented after the game. "We didn't do that tonight. We didn't get to the weak side much it at all. The ball stayed on one side of the floor. The result was not good."
NEXT: The Rockets will travel to Indianapolis, IN, to face the Indiana Pacers Wednesday, January 6, at 6 p.m. Central Time.
Luka Doncic had 33 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists. It's the third time the 21-year-old has recorded 30 or more points, 15 or more rebounds and 10 or more assists in his career. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the rest of the players in NBA history have combined for two such games doing so prior to turning 22.
Tim Hardaway Jr. had 30 points while shooting 8-of-10 from 3-point range. The last time a Maverick shot at least 80.0% from behind-the-arc with 10 or more attempts was on July 31, 2020, when Trey Burke shot 8-of-10 from downtown in a loss to the Rockets. Hardaway hadn't scored more than 18 points in a game prior this season.
Christian Wood has scored 20 or more points in all five games this season, matching the longest single season streak of his career (final five games for Detroit in 2019-20). Wood is averaging 23.6 ppg on 55.3% shooting this season. The last Rocket to have 100+ points while shooting 55.0% or better through the first five games of a season was Yao Ming in 2006-07.
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