Mavs Vs. Rockets Latest: Parsons, Devin Out
The Dallas Mavericks face tonight's Round 1, Game 2 battle with the Rockets tonight (8:30 pm CT tip-off on TNT/TXA 21) at the Toyota Center in Houston. ... and they'll do so without a starter and a key reserve.
Chandler Parsons (knee) and Devin Harris (toe) are out. And coach Rick Carlisle suggests that Parsons' knee is something he's fought through ... and now there is concern he might not be well enough to help at all in this series, in which Dallas is down 0-1.
Despite a poor showing on Saturday in a 118-108 Game 1 loss, the Mavs were somehow able to crawl their way into position to be competitive, leading by as much as three at one point before the Rockets ultimately ran them out of the building. Oddly enough, it was former Mavericks Jason Terry (16 points) and Corey Brewer (15 points) proved to the the deciding factor in the Mavs fate Saturday night.
"It feels great, especially playing against a former team," Brewer exclaimed. "They traded me for a bag of chips."
The reasons why ex-Mav Brewer, a journeyman, is now the last guy in Houston's rotation are actually more complex than his "bag of chips'' line. But ... when role players start trash-talking, that's when you know it's playoff time. But will the talking be enough to wake the Mavs up? Tonight, it's gut-check time for a Dallas team that showed little life when the Rockets ran them out of the Toyota Center on Saturday.
James Harden managed to weasel his way to 24 points, including 17 free throws, despite only making only four field goals. With Parsons out, the Mavs will now have to shift their focus to shutting down Harden without any help from him ... and we're about to see: Is the Mavs' strategy actually be better suited going with a Richard Jefferson-Al Faraou-Aminu combo rather than an unhealthy and ineffective Parsons? RJ will start, and both are players well-equipped to make contributions on the defensive end.
Offensively, it's a different story and that's where Monta Ellis should and must step in.
For nearly the past two seasons this Mavs team has gone as far as Monta can take them. On Saturday, Monta brought his team next to nothing. He was 5 for 15 from the field, finishing with a quiet 16 points. That's not going to cut it. He failed to penetrate the Rockets defense effectively, settling for forced shots while committing three turnovers.
Meanwhile, "Playoff Dirk'' carried the Mavs with 24 points. Carlisle choose to reach back into the depths of history and re-up a Dirk-led type of offense that showed visions of the 2011 NBA Championship run. ... though Nowitzki needs more than the 14 shots from Game 1. And overall? While more Dirk is great, it's a completely different offense than the one the Mavs have grown accustomed to and developed this past season in preparation for the playoffs.
This has been a Monta-led offense. But ... Since the December trade that brought in Rajon Rondo, Monta has been a shell of his former self. He needs the ball in his hands to be effective and Carlisle needs to be aware of that. They must get him involved early and often if they want any chance to beating the Rockets in Game 2, otherwise the mantra of this series will quickly shift from a heated rival to "let's just win one game and avoid the sweep," when Mavs head home for Game 3 at the American Airlines Center on Friday.
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