Unfortunately, it felt like this game was bound to happen for the Rockets. Even though Houston had held tight in the past two games without Chris Paul, there were some obvious corrections that needed to be made or they would were going to face a whooping like this.
Houston flirted with a comeback several times throughout the game; they were able to get it as close as five points with a run at the end of the third. Dallas made sure to remind the home team that they never had the match and went on a 10-2 run to start the fourth, extended the lead to 15, and never looked back.
It was just that kind of game for the Mavericks.
Dallas shot lights out from three-point range as team, going 17-of-34 for 50-percent. Their three-point percentage was actually better than the Rockets’ total field goal percentage, 46-percent. Houston had no answer for rookie Luka Doncic who scored an easy 20 points in 24 minutes on 6-11 shooting. Then they allowed old-timers Devin Harris and J.J. Barea to terrorize them for 20 and 13 points, respectively.
Without Chris Paul for the third straight game, the Rockets struggled to remain consistent on offense and couldn’t get a stop on defense. They were an abysmal 28.9-percent from three, making only 13 out of 45 attempts. They also missed out an easy 8 points at the free-throw line and shot 15-23 (65-percent) from the stripe as a team.
James Harden again had a whale of a game. He might not have scored 50, or even 40, but he tied his career high of 17 assists for the fifth time in his career. Harden also dropped 25 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for his first triple-double of the season. It’s the first time since Chris Paul in 2009 that a player logged at least 25 points, 15 rebounds, and 10 assists in a game.
Most notable for Houston was the newly-signed Danuel House Jr. dropping 18 points on 6-of-13 shooting. While House did shoot a poor 2-8 from three, he made some big shots when they mattered (as much as they could matter in this game), and brought some needed energy to the team.
Eric Gordon unfortunately didn’t show up after seemingly getting out of his shooting slump, only shooting 6-of-15 shooting for 17 points. James Ennis (8-13 FGA) logged 18 points and 3 rebounds. Clint Capela (9-12 FGA) had 18 points and 8 rebounds.
Houston is now on a four-game losing streak and drops to 9-11 on the season.
The Rockets don’t have much time to mourn as they head out on the road and go up north to face the Spurs on Friday, and then come back down to Houston to play the Bulls on Saturday. San Antonio might be the only team to have a worse night than Houston after getting blown out big by Minnesota at home, 128-89.