The Dallas Mavericks lost to the Houston Rockets 133-108 in a game that the Mavericks will soon want to forget. If you watched until the final buzzer, kudos to you. The Mavericks cut the Rockets constant, double-digit lead to only three points a few minutes into the third quarter but couldn't muster up the stops necessary to overcome the deficit. Here are some important numbers from the game.
70: First half points for the Rockets
That was a season-high... for both teams. The Mavericks previous high for points allowed in the first half was 69 against the Los Angeles Lakers on Christmas night. A team with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Tonight? A Houston Rockets team without Victor Oladipo and rising star Christian Wood. It ended up not mattering at all, granted the Mavericks were playing without Kristaps Porzingis, Josh Richardson, Maxi Kleber and Dorian Finney-Smith.
DeMarcus Cousins played like it was 2017 and recorded a first half double-double with 17 points and 15 rebounds. Eric Gordon scored 19 points on 6-of-11 shooting, 5-of-6 from three-point land. The Rockets also had great production coming off the bench thanks to Sterling Brown, Mason Jones, and David Nwaba. Names the average NBA fan may not even know. No way around it, this was a poor defensive outing for a Mavericks team focusing on becoming a better defensive team.
4: Probable Dallas Mavericks starters missing
While I don't want to make this an excuse, especially seeing the lack of defensive effort and shot-missing vs. Houston, I do think it’s worth noting.
Like mentioned above, Dallas played the Rockets tonight without Porzingis, Richardson, Kleber and Finney-Smith. We’re 16 games into the 2020-2021 NBA season, yet the Mavericks have yet to play a game at full strength. If you are missing 50% of your normal eight to nine man rotation, you are 100% going to struggle at times. If you are the Mavs fan that needs talking off the ledge this early into the season, take a deep breath and feel free to reserve the right to hold back full judgement until Dallas plays a few games with their whole roster.
This is and will continue to be a strange season due to the complications of playing during a pandemic. Although the time-table for some of these guys is very much up in the air, it was nice to see Josh Richardson in-person behind the bench for the game — pointing to a possible comeback very soon.
-16: Dallas loses the rebounding battle 52-36
I’ll admit... rebounding is something I probably write about maybe a little too much on here. But, every successful defensive possession needs to end in a rebound. The Mavericks have had too many lackluster rebounding moments for me to feel good about it going forward.
Willie Cauley-Stein, the starting center in this game, didn't record his first rebound until less than one minute left in the first half.
Tim Hardaway Jr. was constantly in horrible defensive rebounding position. The highlight of which he got called for a foul in the paint when the Rockets were forced to heave up a half-court shot in a late shot-clock situation.
If the Mavericks are going to be a good defensive team and contend in the Western Conference, they have to show more rebounding promise.