The Houston Rockets may be tanking, but the occasional win feels good as long as it doesn’t hurt too much in the standings.
But the Rockets may have had a growing moment tonight, as they came together down the stretch of a tight game, outscoring the Dallas Mavericks 13-4 in the final three minutes after Dallas battled back to tie the contest at 89 to finish off a big 102-93 victory against Luka Doncic and one of the Western Conference’s playoff teams.
It was John Wall who led the Rockets down the stretch and all game, really, as he finished with 31 points, 3 rebounds, 7 assists, 4 steals, and a block on 12-23 shooting from the field.
Kelly Olynyk was also huge, as he went for a career-high 18 boards, including several clutch ones in the closing minutes to help spearhead Houston’s win. Olynyk also had 10 points, 3 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks, as his high basketball IQ continues to be a good fit with a team of youngsters, and he’s proven himself just as effective playing alongside Christian Wood as he was playing instead of him.
Wood also had a big night, going for 22 points and 10 rebounds, as he and Olynyk combined to be a major force in the frontcourt, mostly outplaying the Dallas bigs.
Kevin Porter Jr. continues to develop and looked more comfortable beside Wall tonight, as Porter went for 14 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists. Most importantly, he had a steal and a breakaway dunk down the stretch to contribute to Houston’s game-closing run.
Where the Rockets were the most effective tonight, however, was on defense, as they held Dallas to just 93 points, 37.9 percent from the field, and 10-39 from beyond the arc.
Luka Doncic had just an average game, finishing with 23 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists, but he shot just 9-26 from the field and 1-9 from deep. He also turned the ball over five times and generally looked a little out of sorts.
Kristaps Porzingis was the only Dallas big to make an impact, as he finished with 23 points and 12 boards, while Tim Hardaway pitched in 18 points and Jalen Brunson had 14.
The Rockets move to 14-37 on the season with the win and are a game and a half ahead of the Minnesota Timberwolves for the league’s worst record, with the Detroit Pistons a game better than the Rockets.
Houston is now off tomorrow but will return to action on Friday night, as they head to the Staples Center to take on the Los Angeles Clippers.