The Houston Rockets hosted the Dallas Mavericks with the Rockets trying to clinch their first win against the Mavericks this season. Houston's team played tough with the Mavericks and the result was a blowout win over the Mavericks 136-103.
The first quarter showed some up and down basketball with the tempo relatively high. Dirk Nowitzki began to show shades of dusting off his injury woes and the Rockets responded by playing strong. Jeremy Lin showed some aggression late in the game by abusing Darren Collison with superior strength and height. Donatas Motiejunas was all over the court and was rewarded for his efforts. The quarter was very much up and down with the Mavericks hitting shots early and the Rockets just trading blows. Defense was an elusive creature but this was a start to the game we all expected. The hallmark of the first quarter was high energy, quality movement, and shots falling early. Despite hot shooting from the Mavericks the Rockets kept the game close 33-31 going into the second quarter.
Francisco Garcia kicked off the second quarter seeing his first action since the trade from Sacramento and the Rockets looked to focus on ball movement lacking a go-to scorer on the second unit. Three pointers seemed to be the flavor of the quarter with Garcia kicking off the scoring by nailing a three. Happily the second quarter started to show improvement when the ball moved inside the three point line and realized that the closer you are to the basket the higher the chance the shot has to go in. The Mavericks continued to ride a bigger and more physical form of basketball and ran the Rockets ragged in the second quarter. The Rockets came out of their time out ready to ball with the starters coming in and getting the game under control. Jeremy Lin played hot coming onto the floor and the starters began to take control of a game that looked like it was ready to slip away. The Rockets entered the third quarter with a 64-61 lead off of some aggressive play from Chandler Parsons and Jeremy Lin.
Speaking of Jeremy, when Harden is having a tough go of it in games this is exactly the kind of point guard the Rockets need. He entered the half with 17 points and 7 assists to just 2 turnovers and a tenacious attack that kept the Rockets involved. Jeremy led the Rockets with 5 free throws heading into the third.
Houston's third quarter was marked with some aggressive pick and roll work with Omer Asik the beneficiary of crisp passes in the lane. The Rockets aggressive play tagged OJ Mayo with two fouls and he took to the bench with four fouls. The interior defense started out as strong as the ball movement and the Rockets were benefitting left and right. Chandler Parsons put on a clinic of efficiency through the third quarter in sparking a 10-0 run for the Rockets. With 8:26 left to go in the third quarter Chandler is 9-9 with 23 points. The Mavericks are subjected to a 15-0 run to start the third and Chandler looks better with facial hair. The Rockets had their choice of scoring options in the third and declared that this game was theirs from the start. Rockets lead 65-86 leading into a Mavericks time out. With a little over three minutes to go in the third quarter Chandler Parson's perfect game became a thing of the past. The quarter closed out with Patrick Beverly recording a rebound and an easy layup that just about summarized the entirety of the quarter for the Mavericks. A man who stands no more than four feet tall pulled down the board and then punished them for it.
The fourth quarter was much of the same for the Rockets. Run roughshod over the Mavericks and let them know 2013 will be a red year. My focus for the fourth quarter was Thomas Robinson. Thomas was active on defense and on the boards keeping proper spacing with his man even contributing a jumper out near the three-point line. It's a rare occasion where most of the fourth quarter is considered garbage time but thankfully we were treated to it at the cost of our in-state rivals. This game was huge for Houston to keep their movement forward in the standings with the Warriors falling apart. Houston's garbage time squad played a pretty sloppy game but kept the Mavericks at bay. Tim Ohlbrecht showed some pretty good floor spacing and motion but often looked pretty lost on defense. Not bad for a guy who saw his first floor time of the season.
Player of the Game: Chandler Parsons. 32 points, 3 boards, 3 assists. Chandler carried the team on an incredibly efficient game.
There Goes That Man: Thomas Robinson. 10 points, 8 boards in 17 minutes. He'll come along nicely in Houston.
Martyr Award: Jeremy Lin. 21 points, 9 assists. Jeremy held the team together before James Harden got a chance to get hot and deserves a great deal of credit for keeping the team together until Harden got hot.
Author's Note: No matter how much I change the title, it has said Dallas since publication and SBNation is intent on making me look like a moron, no fix I attempt gets rid of "Dalls" on the front page.