The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Houston Rockets 121-115 Tuesday night in Dallas. The American Airlines Center was raucous, which matched the style of play on the court. The Rockets mucked the game up and the Mavericks were willing to do the same. Dallas eventually pulled out a gritty win in the waning minutes of the game, though, starting off their homestand with a victory, even if the game was weird. Not surprising considering the shocking news just prior to the game that Mark Cuban had sold a majority share of the Mavericks. There was also a jersey exchange!
Luka Doncic led all scorers with 41 points, a fitting tribute to Dirk Nowitzki, who was on the call for Bally Sports tonight. Doncic came up just shy of a triple-double, also notching nine each of rebounds and assists. Kyrie Irving added 27 points and five assists. Derrick Jones Jr. led the bench with 15 points and was huge down the stretch.
Alperen Sengun led the Rockets with 31 points. He also grabbed nine rebounds and dished out six assists. Jabari Smith Jr. and Dillon Brooks each scored 16 points for Houston.
Here are three numbers from the game:
+4: The Mavericks’ margin on 3-pointers made
The Rockets shot better from the field than the Mavericks, 49 to 47 percent. The two teams both shot 29 free throws, though the Mavericks made two more than the Rockets. They had a similar number of rebounds, 40 to 38 in favor of Houston. They both had 10 fast break points.
But the Mavericks made four more 3-pointers than the Rockets, and that’s why they won the game. It’s something we’ve gotten used to when it comes to the Mavericks. If they make their 3-pointers, they win. If they don’t, they struggle to find other ways to win, such as tough defense or getting to the rim. Luckily tonight, they made their shots behind the arc.
0: The number of turnovers by Doncic and Irving
Neither Doncic or Irving turned the ball over tonight. Not once. That’s incredibly hard just considering the amount the ball is in both their hands. When you factor in that they’re both often driving into the teeth of the defense, a crowded paint, and dishing out tough passes to sometimes unseen teammates, it makes it downright miraculous.
100: Doncic’s percentage on hook shots
The late hook shot Doncic hit in the game was fun, weird, and yet somehow effective. Per Doncic, he’s never missed when taking a hook shot. Tonight’s shot makes him 2-of-2 for his career. The other one he hit? In international play against Sweden. I say he starts making these hook shots a habit.
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