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Game Recap: Mavericks Come Up Short Against Rockets 97-94

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In the last Dallas game of 2009, the Mavericks look to wash that horrible taste out of their mouths after a somewhat questionable loss to the Houston Rockets.  The official challenge to the Erick Dampier technical may not be decided until sometime in 2010 which should add some nice fuel to the rest of the Mavericks/Rockets meetings this year.

The Mavericks come in with the second best record in the Western Conference (22-9) fresh off of a confidence-boosting win against the Denver Nuggets.  The Mavericks are currently 8-2 in their last 10 games while the Rockets are a much more mediocre 6-4.   The Rockets have done exceptionally well for a team that currently doesn’t feature a major superstar (Trevor Ariza is not a superstar) and is dealing with the end of the Tracy McGrady era.  

Do the Rockets get to pad the season series against the Mavericks? 

Game as a Whole:

The Houston Rockets looked to be in control the whole game but even at the end they never completely shut the door on the Mavericks.  The bench came up huge tonight for Dallas.  To only lose by three points (due to a last second miss by Jason Kidd) when Dirk is having one of the worst shooting nights of his career takes a lot of effort from your other role players. 

What doomed Dallas? While a majority of baskets were scored in the paint, the Mavericks fell in love with the three-pointer during key portions of the game.  They continued to shoot the three even though it wasn’t falling.  If they had passed up two threes and instead drove to the basket, that could have been the difference in the game.  

Even though Dirk Nowitzki is unquestionably the leader of the team, he got entirely too many touches in the fourth quarter.  It was definitely not Dirk’s night and it would have been nice if Carlisle would have recognized that and done something differently. 

Who would have thought that the Nuggets game would have been a resounding win and the Rockets would hand the Mavericks another loss?  

Let’s look at the quarters…

1st Quarter:
  • 11:38, Kidd open jumper coming off a screen.  Looked a bit like Jason Terry.  
  • 10:53, Shane Battier hits his first shot.  Better guard him tonight and not give up those easy looks like that.  
  • 9:33, Seems Dampier has dipped his hands in Crisco tonight.  Thought he had moved passed this phase in his career.  Old Dampier may be back. 
  • 8:36, Forever young, Jason Kidd hits a layup on the fast break. 
  • 8:07, Dampier at the charity stripe.  Rockets announcers are talking about how bad of a free-throw shooter Erick Dampier is.  Said he is "always one for two".
  • 7:19, Just as I am thinking it, we throw Drew Gooden in the game.  If Gooden has even a fraction of the game he had in Denver the Mavericks will be all right. 
  • 6:31, Dirk picks up his second foul in just the first quarter.  Rick Carlisle compounds the situation by picking up a technical.  I can understand you are trying to fire the team up Rick, but don’t give the Rockets points. 
  • 6:06, Josh Howard in the game for Dirk.  Looks like he will be getting some big minutes tonight.  
  • 5:20, Drew Gooden will not help the team by taking a bunch of shots and bricking them.  
  • 5:00, Josh Howard saves a fast break bucket by the Rockets.  Thank you for being back, Josh.  
  • 4:50, Jason Terry in the game.  Rick Carlisle is looking for anything to get the game going for the Mavericks.  
  • Mavericks have been stuck at 11 for almost two minutes.  
  • 2:00, Gooden ends the Rockets run with a turnaround shot off the glass.  
  • :57.0, Gooden hits another basket in the low post.  Interesting that the only Maverick making any baskets is Drew Gooden.  
  • :27.4, Shawn Marion with a little runner.  Even his runners look kind of weird.  
  • Mavericks shoot 35% from the floor and have a "goose egg" from the three-point line. On the bright side, they are only down 10.  
2nd Quarter:
  • 11:32, Josh Howard takes it coast-to-coast.  Poor defense by the Rockets as they gambled for the steal.  Looks like the house lost on that bet.  
  • 10:52, Jason Terry’s game has improved so much this year.  Jump shot isn’t falling; he is now going into the paint.  
  • 9:53, The Mavericks are currently attacking the paint (since nothing else is falling).  Marion just got a layup. (Couldn’t see a game clock anywhere…) 
  • 9:01, Back-to-back baskets for Shawn Marion.  Just need to start guarding the three-point line a bit better now.
  • 8:22, Shawn Marion takes a jumper and hits it!  Shot was from about 15ft, has to be Marion’s longest made shot this season. 
  • 6:49, Unsure if that shot was blocked coming out of Battier’s hands or not but that thing was ugly.  If you can find it on Youtube check it out. 
  • 6:34, Josh Howard with an "and 1" currently has 7 points off the bench.  Brings the Mavericks to within one.  
  • 5:56, Carl Landry fouls Dirk (Landry thought it was good defense).  Dirk makes both shots.  
  • 5:19, Mavericks back at the line.  This is what a veteran team does to get back in the game.  
  • 4:59, Josh Howard gives the Mavericks the lead on a short jumper.  Josh is the team’s whole offense right now.  
  • 4:14, Jason Terry gets another layup attacking the basket.  
  • 2:56, Barea hits the "falling" pass for a Josh Howard jumper.  That gets negated by an Aaron Brooks fast break basket on the other end.  That was reminiscent of Phoenix running after a made basket. 
  • 2:11, Marion doesn’t get to add to his personal highlight reel (blows what would have been an excellent dunk). 
  • 1:51, Jason Terry goes to the line for two.  
  • 1:12, Drew Gooden has been in the weight room.  He puts an offensive rebound back up with sheer muscle.  
  • :23.5, Josh Howard hits another basket in close.  
  • Mavericks have only committed 2 team fouls in the quarter.  They are still losing. 
3rd Quarter
  • 11:17, Dirk gets a friendly roll on a 3 pointer.  Going to need more of those to go in.  
  • 10:00, Finally, Dirk gets in close to the basket and hits a banker.  
  • 9:31, Two offensive rebounds on one position, and you’re going to end up with points.  
  • Houston is trying to break the game open right now.  
  • 7:48, Kidd makes a three.  I think we might need to Kidd to score some points tonight. 
  • 6:45, Kidd with back-to-back baskets.  
  • 6:09, Another for Kidd, unfortunately he is shooting super long twos instead of threes (darn that toe). 
  • 5:09, Barea gets a layup in the paint.  Nothing is coming easy right now.  
  • 4:43, Shane Battier helps the Rockets commit another shot clock violation.  
  • 3:37, Another last-second miss for the Rockets but the Mavericks aren’t capitalizing.  
  • Even though Dallas has only made one three-pointer tonight, they continue shooting them. 
  • 1:04, Erick Dampier in the low post.  
4th Quarter
  • 11:10, Jason Terry throws a great pass to Marion for two.  
  • 10:54, Kidd takes another deep two.  He needs to know where his feet are.    
  • 10:19, Two saves by two different Dallas players resulting in a three; that will make the highlights tonight.  
  • Too many second chance points tonight for the Rockets. 
  • 8:52, Kidd takes it himself to the rim.  Marion gets an excellent block on the defensive end.  
  • 8:20, Drew Gooden with a turn around jumper.   
  • 7:01, Jason Terry to the rim for another layup. Very impressed at how many baskets have been in the paint tonight.  
  • 5:39, I don’t know what Aaron Brooks was thinking (maybe he just wanted to scare Jet) but he jumped way early and Jason Terry gets the "and 1". 
  • 4:52, Now, Dirk comes back and gets an "and 1". 
  • 2:08, Nobody follows Shane Battier to the other side of the floor.  He gets an open three.  This was anybody’s game but the Mavericks blew a possession right there.  
  • 1:22, Mavericks have suffered a complete defensive breakdown in the fourth.  It’s unfortunate, but that’s how games are won and lost. 
  • The officials haven’t been good at the end of the game.  I am happy that they went "no call" for "no call" with Terry and Brooks.  They shouldn’t need to have a make-up call though.  
  • Kidd ends up taking the three at the end of the game and loses it for the Mavericks.  
  • Mavericks fall 97-94. 

Some Choice Statistics:

  • Dirk goes 0 for 2 in the first half.  I don’t think that has ever happened.
  • After two quarters, every Maverick was negative when it comes to +/-. 
  • Most points Drew Gooden has ever scored in his career are 33 versus the Bucks. 

Closing Thoughts:

Whether you like it or not, the Rockets currently match up with the Mavericks very well. This is a team that the Mavericks would least like to run into when playoff time comes.

Happy New Year!