The Rockets had no chance against the Mavericks during their 128-108 loss to Houston.
Unfortunately, it seemed like this game was inevitable for the Rockets. Even if Houston had held firm in the last two games without Chris Paul, obvious corrections had to be made, otherwise they would face a groan like this.
Houston flirted with a comeback several times during the match; they managed to do it as close as five points with a race at the end of the third. Dallas made sure to remind the home team that the match never took place and scored 10-2 to start the fourth, extended the lead to 15 and never looked back.
It was just that kind of game for the Mavericks.
Dallas fired a three-point lightning as the team, scoring 17 goals out of 34 for a score of 50%. Their percentage of three points was actually better than the Rockets total field goal percentage, 46%. Houston has no answer for rookie Luka Doncic who scored 20 points in 24 minutes on the 6-11 shot. Then they allowed former Devin Harris and J.J. Barea to terrorize them for 20 and 13 points, respectively.
Without Chris Paul for the third game in a row, the Rockets struggled to remain consistent on the offensive and could not call in defense. They accounted for 28.9% of the last three victims, making only 13 attempts out of 45. They also missed 8 easy points on the free throw line and shot 15-23 (65%) of the team.
James Harden again had a crush. He may not have scored 50 or even 40, but he equaled his career record of 17 assists for the fifth time in his career. Harden also lost 25 points and 11 rebounds for his first triple-double of the season. This is the first time since Chris Paul in 2009 that a player scores at least 25 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists in a game.
Most notable for Houston was the recent signing of Danuel House Jr., who lost 18 points on 6 out of 13 shots. Although House shot a poor 2-8 out of 3, he made some big shots when they counted (as much as they could material in this game), and brought needed energy to the team.
Eric Gordon unfortunately did not show up after seemingly getting out of his slump. He shot only 6 out of 15 shots for 17 points. James Ennis (8-13 FGA) recorded 18 points and 3 rebounds. Clint Capela (9-12 FGA) had 18 points and 8 rebounds.
Houston is now on a four-game losing streak and drops to 9-11 on the season.
The Rockets do not have a lot of time to mourn as they head for the road and head north to face the Spurs on Friday, then head back to Houston to face the Bulls on Saturday. San Antonio may well be the only team to have had a worse night than Houston after being beaten by Minnesota home, 128-89.