The Houston Rockets are going for the sweep against the Dallas Mavericks, who are sure to be tired and broken down after their heartbreaking loss in Game 3.
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Game 3 consisted of ridiculously high scoring as the Rockets held off the Mavericks’ furious rally for a 130-128 victory.
The Mavericks took a 13-point lead late in the second quarter, but the Rockets managed to cut it to seven before halftime.
The Rockets took their momentum into the third quarter and stormed out to a lead and finished the quarter leading 101-99.
This would normally be high-scoring enough for an NBA matchup, but the offenses continued to fight hard for the win in the fourth quarter as the two teams scored 29 points each.
After the Rockets took an eight-point lead with 2:40 remaining, Mavericks power forward Dirk Nowitzki drilled a three-pointer before shooting guard Monta Ellis added another two points.
The Rockets led by four with 33 seconds left, but Nowitzki drew a foul behind the three-point line and made it a one-point game.
However, Rockets shooting guard James Harden proved his MVP candidacy with a jump shot that would make the difference for the Rockets.
Ellis missed the final shot that would have sent it to overtime, and the Mavericks now have their backs against the wall in Dallas.
Despite their horrid defensive performance and heartbreaking loss, head coach Rick Carlisle’s stance on point guard Rajon Rondo was proven correct as the team was able to show more fight without him as team chemistry seemed to be better.
Rondo was benched in Game 2, and he has not returned since as he is nursing a back injury.
Small forward Chandler Parsons is also out for the rest of the playoffs with an aggravated knee injury.
Richard Jefferson was not the same, but Ellis carried a heavy load for the Mavericks with a playoff career-high 34 points, and Nowitzki added another 29 points.
The Mavericks offense remains outmatched by the Rockets though, as Harden is coming off a playoff-best 42 points while center Dwight Howard grabbed a playoff career-high 26 rebounds.
The Rockets also have plenty of other capable scorers like small forwards Josh Smith and Trevor Ariza along with power forward Terrence Jones.
Shooting guard Corey Brewer has also been solid off the bench and has been reliable with three-pointers.
Brewer has averaged 15 points per game in this playoff series while making 60 percent of his three-point shots.
The entire team had great success from downtown in Game 3 as they drilled 54.2 percent of their shots, and Harden shot 5-for-7.
However, the Mavericks are no slouches behind the three-point line either as Nowitzki has made 40 percent of his shots from downtown, and Ellis has performed well from the three-point line as well since he has shot 41.2 percent.
Game 4 will ultimately come down to whoever can produce more on offense, which was the case in Game 3.
Since neither teams can play sufficient defense, the Rockets will prevail since they have more star power and advance to the Western Conference Semifinals.
Prediction: Rockets 108, Mavericks 102