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Mavericks vs Rockets final score: Dallas craters against Houston 118-108

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Houston blitzed the Mavs in the first quarter, and Dallas never recovered.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Houston obliterated Dallas in game one, because of their preparation, length and athleticism. Dirk Nowitzki had a vintage performance with 24 points on 10-14 shooting, but it simply wasn't enough tonight.

Dallas started this game by lighting a huge tire fire at midcourt. It was quite alarming to see how unprepared the Mavs
were in comparison to Houston. The Rockets mucked up the Mavs offense in the first quarter because they knew all of the Mavs set plays. Jason Terry, in particular, took advantage of knowing Dirk's passing tendencies. 

Dwight Howard appeared in peak form on the defensive end. Dwight blew up several Maverick pick and rolls with athleticism he hasn't shown in quite a while. Monta Ellis and Chandler Parsons in particular struggled at the rim when Dwight was in the game. On the offensive end, Dwight feasted as the roll man in pick and rolls. Houston attacked whoever Monta or Parsons was guarding and it allowed ball handlers wreak havoc in the lane and find Dwight for lobs.

However, Amar'e Stoudemire got Dwight into foul trouble with repeated postups. Stoudemire's post ups were relatively unsuccessful from a statistical standpoint, but they payed dividends in getting Howard off the floor.

Once Howard exited, the lane opened for the Maverick attackers to get to the basket. J.J. Barea provided valuable minutes in the early portion of the 2nd quarter by stabilizing the offense after a frenetic first quarter. From there, Playoff Rondo made his grand appearance in a Maverick uniform. Rondo attacked the lane with his quirky right hand finishes. He signifiied the returen of Playoff Rondo with a couple of confident jumpers and a three-pointer. When he's aggressive in this manner, it changes the entire dynamic of the Maverick offense. 

Not to be outdone, Playoff Dirk also made a glorious appearance. The Rockets switched a lot of pick and rolls, which left a guard on Nowitzki; Dirk punished them. Dirk had the full arsenal going: fadeaways, pull up jumpers, three-pointers, and even a skyhook. Unfortunately, Dirk really struggled in pick and roll coverage. Houston targeted Dirk constantly in pick and roll when he was guarding Nowitzki. Jones used his athleticism and court vision to create layups and dunks for the Rockets.

Corey Brewer changed the entire complexion of the fourth quarter. Brewer scored 12 points in the quarter on 3-4 from behind the arc. Each time Dallas attempted to make a run, Brewer would make a soul crushing jumper.

Game 2 will be on Tuesday. Rick Carlisle has a lot of work ahead of him.

Game Observations

  • Rondo drew an excellent charge on Harden on the first possession of the game by pestering and staying in front of him.
  • Jason Terry stabbed me in the heart with two threes in the first quarter in the most Jason Terry way possible.
  • It's not often this happens, but Rick Carlisle was out-coached tonight. Kevin McHale had the Rockets prepared for every set the Mavs ran in the first half and it lead to their early lead.
  • I'm inclined to think that his game is an aberration. Harris and Nowitzki made some of their more obscene turnovers and I don't expect that to continue.
  • Parsons tweaked his knee in the second quarter, but returned in the second half. It was clear that he wasn't close to 100 percent for this game.
  • Dirk hit an amazing four-point play over Jason Terry and the two exchanged some verbal jabs afterwards.
  • Monta hit an outrageous buzzer-beating three at the end of the third quarter to cut the lead down to seven.
  • Trevor Ariza, Jason Terry Corey Brewer went a combined 9-12 on threes. I'm not sure that happens again in the series.
  • Dirk had an uncharacteristic six turnovers.
  • Monta Ellis was a ghost for the majority of this game. He went 5-15 from the field and lost track of countless shooters on the defensive end. If the Mavs want to go anywhere this series, they're going to need Monta to play up to his talent level.
  • Mavs had six made threes and 14 made free throws; Rockets had 10 made threes and 32 made free throws. This is something to watch going forward.