Rapid Fire: Mavs Outshoot Rockets 110-98
1. Rick Carlisle elected to rest Dirk, Chandler Parsons, and Wes Matthews on the second leg of their second back-to-back in five days on Saturday night, and frankly the results could not have been better. Dallas dominated all phases of the game from start to finish ... in a game the Mavs, on paoer, had absolutely no business winning.
"That was great,'' Dirk said, then joking, "I said to the team, 'Screw 2011. This is the greatest win in franchise history. And we got a history with the Rockets. We hate them and they hate us. It was awesome.''
2. With CP, Dirk, and Wes sitting on the sidelines, Justin Anderson got his first NBA start of his career. Anderson, who opened at the 3-spot, only played 12 minutes, but did some good things on the court. It’s going to take some time for Anderson to develop into what the Mavs organization thinks he can be; luckily for the Mavs, they haven’t had to ask too much of him this season due to the speedy recoveries of Wes and CP.
3. The Mavs ‘band-aid’ lineup came out firing from the field in the first quarter behind eight points from Charlie V, winning the first frame 32-20. Rick Carlisle wants to get off to a good start, and the Mavs have been able to do that in the last two games.
4. Dwight Powell’s lessons with Dirk's mentor Holger seem to be paying off immensely so far this season. Coming into Saturday night’s game, Powell was shooting 54.8 percent from the field, as well as averaging 10.7 points and eight rebounds in 21 minutes per game off of the bench. He has become an invaluable part of this team’s success this season, and seems to be getting more and more comfortable with each and every game he plays. Dwight finished the game with 13 points and nine rebounds.
5. Raymond Felton had another great game for the Mavs on Saturday night, pouring in a team high 23 points, to go along with six rebounds, and a myrid of other exceptional plays on both ends of the floor. Ray has cemented himself as a major contributor in this rotation, something not a lot of people would have predicted coming into the season.
6. Houston elected to rest Dwight Howard on Saturday, which certainly helped Dallas’ chances in this one. But the way Houston was shooting the basketball, it may not have made a difference. The Rockets shot 38 percent from the field, including 26.5 percent from downtown.
7. James Harden in particular struggled immensely shooting the basketball in this game, going zero for 10 in the first half. The second half wasn’t much better for Harden, as he went five for 11 in the second half thanks in part to Raymond Felton’s pesky defense. Harden finished with 25 points (thanks to 14/14 from the line), but his shooting was awful all night long.
8. The Mavs shooting on the other hand, was impressive. Dallas hit 43 of 90 (47.8 percent) from the field, despite hitting just 28.6 percent from three. Considering the four-game-in-five-night stretch for Dallas, it was pretty surprising to see the Mavs have that kind of success. This is a scrappy bunch, and Saturday was just another example of that.
9. Charlie V had without a doubt his best game of the season in this game, finishing with 19 points and five boards. Charlie V has been struggling to find his stroke for the most part this season, but was able to put together a solid performance when the Mavs really needed someone to step up on the offensive end of the floor.
10. The Mavs dominated the paint from start to finish, outscoring the Rockets 54-40 in the paint. The Mavs are now 5-1 when they win the battle in the paint.
11. John Jenkins got a chance to play a few meaningful minutes thanks to the Mavs short-handed lineup, and while he stuggled shooting for the most part, he played a pretty decent game overall. Jenkins moved well without the basketball, and found himself with a couple of good looks, but just couldn’t get them to fall. Jenkins will be hard-pressed to crack the rotation barring a massive rest night like Saturday night.
12. James Harden has to have one of the more unfair advantages in the NBA. All the guy has to do to get to the line is drive to the basket, whip his head back, and throw his hands in the air. NBA referees are almost pre programmed to call fouls in his favor in these situations, and it’s downright ridiculous. There ought to be a law ... but wait. There is. The law simply needs to be enforced.
13. Terrance Jones was pretty much the only Rocket who had a respectable outing. The third-year player out of Kentucky finished the game with 23 points and six rebounds.
14. After trailing by as many as 26 points, the Rockets made a push in the third quarter to cut the lead all the way down to 15 points heading into the fourth quarter. Dallas was able to answer the Rockets burst in the third, with a good end to the quarter offensively.
15. In the end, the Mavs took advantage of extremely poor shooting in the first half by the Rockets, and played balanced team basketball all night long, winning their third game in four nights, 110-98. All the camp talk of team chemistry -- addressed here in Fish's Mavs Premium column -- seems to be true, as this team continues to find different ways to win.
“Any time you can come in someone else’s building and get a win missing three of your starters, you know, that’s big,'' Felton said. "That’s big for our team, and that’s big for just the bond that we have. That shows what type of team that we have.''
The Dirkie/Player of the game: Raymond Felton gets our vote. Ray-Ray played the role of closer in this game, putting the Mavs on his back down the stretch and holding off the late Rockets push. Felton also drew two key offensive fouls on James Harden, and was an all-around pest on Harden all night. Felton finished the game with 23 points, 6 rebounds and 1 assist. Cast your vote for "The Dirkie'' here!
Stat(s) of the night: Interior domination and team basketball. The Mavs outscore the Rockets 54-40 in the paint, while also winning the rebounding battle 46-43. The Mavs have been solid inside on both ends of the floor in the last three games, and it has been a major key to their success.
The Mavs also had six players finish in double figures on the night, led by Ray Felton’s 23 points.
This game was over when... Ray Felton hit a beautiful midrange jumper over Corey Brewer to put the Mavs up 101-89 with 3:21 to go in the game.
Should have seen coming... James Harden shooting two thirds as many free throws as the entire Mavs team combined. It’s ridiculous.
Couldn't see coming... Good shooting. The Mavs took advantage of an ice-cold shooting night by the Rockets, hitting 47.8 percent from the field on the night. While that may see like an average number, it is particularly impressive considering it was the second leg of a back-to-back and the Mavs fourth game in five nights.
What's next?: The Mavs (6-4 and winners of three straight) head to east to face rookie Jahlil Okafor and the Philadelphia 76ers (0-9) on Monday at 6 pm from the Wells Fargo Center. Okafor is an early Rookie of the Year candidate, averaging 19 points and 6.8 boards per game in his rookie campaign.
The Final Word: "I’m not surprised,'' insisted coach Rick Carlisle. "I really believe in our group. I believe in our depth, I like our team 1-through-15, and we had to do this tonight to do the right thing toward getting fully healthy. We had a plan. ... I’m really happy for them. They really earned this win.”