clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Mavericks vs Rockets Final Score: 3 thoughts as Dallas holds off Houston, 121-115

The Mavericks notch their 11th win of the regular season

In- Season Tournement- Houston Rockets v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images

The Dallas Mavericks improved to 11-6 on the year, defeating the Houston Rockets at home Tuesday night, 121-115. Luka Doncic scored 41 points, grabbed nine rebounds, and dished out nine assists to lead Dallas. Alpern Sengun led the Rockets in defeat with 31.

A change to the starting lineup for the Dallas Mavericks may have helped spurn one of their better defensive starts so far in the regular season. Houston did their part by missing all of their shots and at one point the Mavericks led by as many as 12 before the Rockets bench helped bring them back into the game. A pair of Tim Hardaway threes gave Dallas some breathing room and the Mavericks led 29-22 after twelve minutes of action.

The second quarter of basketball was an ugly one with lots of called fouls on both sides. The Rockets managed to hang around for much of the frame, though Dallas finally re-extended their lead back to double digits once Dillon Brooks picked up his third foul. Houston kept chipping away and pulled within two in the final two minutes, but Luka Doncic free throws gave Dallas a 54-50 lead heading into the half.

The Rockets quickly took the lead to open the third and the Dallas Mavericks spent the entire period trying to take the lead back. Fouls and free throws continued to be the story for both teams. Dereck Lively’s bad whistle continued with him picking up his fourth foul halfway into the period. Dallas churned the lead down to two, only for the Rockets to answer right back. Aaron Holiday’s eight points helped keep Houston ahead but Kyrie Irving found his shot and brought Dallas back within four as the Mavericks closed out the period down 88-84.

The final quarter was a raucous affair. Dallas quickly tied the game but it took the Mavericks nearly four and a half minutes to finally take the lead back from Houston, this time off a Derrick Jones Jr. three. Dallas built a five-point lead on a Lively ally-oop, forcing a Rockets timeout. The final half of the fourth was a bit of a slog; despite Dallas maintaining a lead, multiple stoppages in play made the game feel really long. Houston made a run in the final minutes to make things uncomfortable, but Dallas took home their 11th win of the season by beating Houston 121-115.

Now, some thoughts:

Kyrie Irving as the X-factor

Game-to-game expectations for Kyrie Irving are difficult to verbalize. I could give you some general stats and probably be close to right, but how he gets his numbers and affects the game is difficult to pinpoint. He might have an early burst in the opening minutes. He might go off when Doncic sits and Irving gets to run the show. Or, like tonight, he might struggle early only to catch lightning in a bottle. He was 3 of 13 for 7 points in the third quarter only to finish the game with 27 points! His shot efficiency wasn’t great but his parade to the free throw line helped Dallas both take and hold the lead. There’s a sense of inevitability about Kyrie doing something absurd in a game, it’s mainly a matter of when.

Ball control gives Dallas an edge

Every coach hates turnovers, but it’s pretty remarkable that the Mavericks had just seven turnovers in a game where they scored 121 points. Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving as primary ball-handers combined for ZERO turnovers, which is pretty amazing.

Dereck Lively gets a bad whistle

I got over being a refs guy sometime in the late 2000’s. It’s not fun. But watching Lively get called for nonsense non-fouls is wearing me out. I hope the Mavericks are complaining to the league about this, because it’s getting to be ridiculous and Lively is too important to this team. It’s going to cost them games unless he starts getting a better whistle.

You can listen to our latest podcast episode in the player embedded below, and to make sure you don’t miss a single one moving forward, subscribe to the Pod Maverick podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Pocketcasts, or Castbox.

You can check out our After Dark Recap podcasts, Spotify Live recordings, Moneyball Minute shows, and guest shows on the Pod Maverick Podcast feed. Please subscribe, rate, and review.