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Game 2 Rapid Reaction: Rockets 111 Mavericks 99

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Josh Smith and Dwight Howard, ignited the offensive explosion for the Rockets in a Game 2 win.

Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

In a truly exciting game, the Houston Rockets took flight in the fourth quarter to defeat the Dallas Mavericks in Game 2. The Rockets will enter Dallas with a 2-0 lead in the series next Friday.

Dwight Howard was incredible in this game with 28 points, but Josh Smith was the big story. J-Smoove finished with 15 points, 9 assists, and 8 rebounds in just 25 minutes. He came alive in the third quarter and led the charge along with the rest of the Headband of Brothers.

Smith and Howard were spectacular in the fourth quarter. Their chemistry was key in the Rockets' reckless attack of the rim. The Rockets ran some interesting 4/5 pick and rolls with Smith and Howard that were ultimately effective. Houston had 15 total dunks and eight in the fourth quarter alone.

The Mavericks simply looked like a dysfunctional team. They didn't pass the ball particularly well, as evidenced by their mere 14 total assists. In the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals, a man formerly known by the name of Rajon Rondo nearly averaged 14 assists. That same man was a complete non-factor in this game, three years after he earned the nickname "Playoff Rondo."

The lone bright spot for Dallas was Puerto Rican ball of energy, J.J. Barea, who dropped 13 points off the bench. He played 33 minutes compared to Rondo's 10. Monta Ellis quietly scored 24 points on 8-23 shooting.

The Rockets' bench was also vital in the victory tonight. Smith was terrific as previously mentioned, but Corey Brewer and Pablo Prigioni also supplied sparks off the bench. Corey Brewer did Corey Brewer things and scrapped his way to 15 points. Prigioni was solid at the point as he took care of the ball and ran the conservative pick-and-roll masterfully.

TRENDS

1. Clint Capela is an NBA player

He played meaningful minutes in a playoff game and held his ground. Capela made Chandler a little uncomfortable underneath the hoop when they battled for boards. He did an exceptional job boxing out and he is very capable of running the floor. Cappela finished with 5 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 blocks in 10 minutes.

2. Irk Nowitzki

While The Germanator can still get it done on offense, his defense is simply atrocious. He might be the worst defensive player in the playofffs. He has completely lost his lateral quickness and it would be very sad to watch if he weren't playing the Rockets. Nowitzki could possibly play for another couple years, but I am officially retiring the "D" in his first name.

3. "Playoff Rondo" doesn't exist (anymore, at least)

I didn't expect to type this sentence, but the Mavericks really missed Devin Harris in this one. Rondo's inexcusable 8 second violation in the opening minutes of the game is indicative of the type of player he has become post-knee surgery. He and Rick Carlisle are clearly not on the same page and that won't change any time soon.

4. Superman Returns!

Dwight did everything tonight. He killed it on the boards, he threw the hammer down on some alley oops, he protected the rim, and he even made his free throws!* The Josh Smith/Dwight Howard AAU connection was deadly as they must have hooked up for at least 6 alley oops off of big-to-big pick and rolls. Howard finished with a tremendous 28 points, 12 rebounds, 2 swats, and some beautiful outlet passes.

*Plus, with 9:06 left in the fourth, he added a wedgie!

4. This is the Rockets' series to lose

Possibly without Chandler Parsons, the Mavericks look very vulnerable. They have no answer for Harden and the Smith/Howard mojo has proven to be a weapon of mass destruction. To put the cherry on top, Rajon Rondo is an emotional dumpster fire with unlimited potential but no desire to unleash it. /Drops mic./

Highlights

Warning: it's a lot of Smith to Howard on repeat.