The Dallas Mavericks were able to avoid getting swept by the Houston Rockets as they took advantage of being in front of their home crowd and won, 121-109.
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The Mavericks responded well to having their backs against the wall, but they appeared to be headed for a sweep after the first quarter.
The Rockets took a nine-point lead after shooting guard James Harden made a buzzer-beating two-point shot.
The Mavericks immediately realized how serious this was and woke up in the second quarter by scoring a whopping 36 points.
They went on a 19-8 run to start the quarter, and point guard J.J. Barea began to take over as he finished the second quarter with 10 points and three assists.
Center Tyson Chandler capped off the Mavericks’ excellent second quarter with a slam dunk after rebounding a missed shot by Barea.
In the third quarter, the Mavericks put together another strong performance as they stormed out to a 24-point lead over the Rockets with five minutes left.
Small forward Richard Jefferson took a leaf out of Harden’s book by making a buzzer-beating three-pointer to end the quarter.
Shooting guard Monta Ellis became the star of the game in the third quarter as he scored 14 points while shooting for 5-for-7.
After the Mavericks led by 18 points with about six minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Rockets began to show signs of life.
They went on a 9-0 run, and Rockets small forward Josh Smith heated up after starting with only five points in the first three quarters.
Smith scored 18 points in the fourth quarter while shooting a perfect 7-for-7, including 4-for-4 from the three-point line.
Ellis stayed hot for the Mavericks though, as he snapped their scoring slump with a three-pointer after the Rockets’ 9-0 run.
The Mavericks held a 10-point lead with just under three minutes left. Harden made a layup before Nowitzki made two free throws.
Ellis sealed the game for good and shifted the momentum permanently in the Mavericks’ favor with a persistent layup.
The Rockets gave up shortly after that and sent in their bench players, and Chandler officially sealed the game with two free throws.
The Mavericks offense thrived without Rajon Rondo as their starting point guard once again, as Barea performed brilliantly with 17 points and 13 assists.
Five other players also reached double digits in scoring, but Ellis was the clear leader with 31 points on 13-of-18 shooting, and he added six rebounds with three assists.
Nowitzki and small forward Al-Farouq Aminu each scored 16 points. Aminu snagged 12 rebounds while Nowitzki grabbed another eight.
Chandler led the team in rebounds with 14 while scoring 10, and power forward Amar’e Stoudemire provided 12 points off the bench in 18 minutes.
The entire team made 54.3 percent of their shots, but their free-throw shooting was at a dreadful 42.9 percent.
For the Rockets, Harden led the team in scoring with 24 points while adding five rebounds and five assists.
Smith added 23 points on 8-of-10 shooting, and shooting guard Corey Brewer was a valuable bench contributor once again as he scored 22 points on 9-of-15 shooting with five rebounds.
To no surprise, center Dwight Howard was abysmal at the free-throw line as he shot 3-for-13. He was held to 13 points while grabbing only seven rebounds after tying a career-high with 26 in the previous game.
With this loss, the Rockets have gained an opportunity to advance to the Western Conference Semifinals in front of their home crowd, which they will attempt to do on Tuesday.