Before the start of the night, we were worried this could potentially be a trap game for the Houston Rockets, and though they didn’t quite play their best ball of the season, it was still enough to down an inferior Dallas Mavericks squad 104-97.
James Harden led the way with 25 points, 5 rebounds, and 13 assists, and he checked out for the night with about 4 minutes still to go with the game in hand for Houston. He hit 6 three-pointers in a barrage of triples for Houston, as they went 21-51 overall from beyond the arc, including going 10-14 from deep in the first period to lead the game 38-28 after one quarter.
Despite their hot start, the Rockets were equally as cold in the second period, as they put up a season-low 13 points in that frame. Despite their struggles in the second, the went into the halftime break still leading 51-45.
The Rockets blew the game open in the second half, however, as they led by double-digits most of the way after the break, including going up by 20 points at one point before going on cruise control to close out the game.
In addition to Harden, the Rockets also got 23 points from Trevor Ariza, including 5 threes, 17 points from Eric Gordon, who hit 4 threes himself to finally snap out of his deep-shooting slump, and 12 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists from Chris Paul.
They also got a 16-point, 13-rebound double-double from Clint Capela, and he also capped it off with 2 blocks, including one in which he followed up the swat with a vintage Dikembe Mutombo finger wag.
The Rockets played pretty good defense, holding the Mavs to just 42 percent shooting from the field, and they forced 13 turnovers while committing just nine themselves.
As for the Mavs, they were led by 29 points and 7 threes from Wesley Matthews, and they also got double figures from Yogi Ferrell (19), Dennis Smith (11), and Harrison Barnes (10). Dallas played hard but simply didn’t have the firepower to match up with the Rockets.
Houston now goes 34-12 on the season, and they’ve won their fourth straight contest and continue to play undefeated ball with the Harden, Paul, Capela triumvirate all in action. They stand at three games back of the Golden State Warriors for first in the Western Conference and four games ahead of the third-place San Antonio Spurs.
They’ll be looking for their fifth win in a row on Friday night, when the travel to New Orleans to take on the Pelicans.