Since they are just a short drive from one another and can both claim to be headed to the NBA Playoffs, there is a bit of a rivalry between the Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets. They played one another on Sunday. The Rockets defeated the Mavericks by a score of 93-92, as reported by ESPN. The two of them have a very good chance of seeing one another when the post season begins.
Dallas Mavericks starters
With Dirk Nowitzki too injured to play, the Dallas Mavericks had to come up with a different lineup. Rick Carlise also had to come up with a new strategy because his franchise player was usually the offensive centerpiece. He decided to insert Seth Curry into the lineup. That meant that free agent acquisition Harrison Barnes had to move from small forward to power forward.
Wesley Matthews decided to respond with the lineup change. In the absence of Dirk Nowitzki, Matthews decided to take over the offense for the Dallas Mavericks by taking 25 shots. He only managed to hit nine of those shots, but it was enough for him to produce 25 points.
Deron Williams tried to help out, but his poor shooting only enabled him to produce 12 points. Harrison Barnes came back down to earth against the Houston Rockets. The former Golden State Warriors forward missed eight of the 11 shots that he took. That was good enough only for 10 points.
Dallas Mavericks starting center Andrew Bogut received more minutes than normal with the absence of Dirk Nowitzki. He managed to chip in with 14 rebounds and three assists.
Dallas Mavericks bench
Rick Carlisle decided to keep his rotation tight without Dirk Nowitzki around. Only four bench players were utilized. JJ Barea was given 31 minutes of playing time. He was able to produce 18 points and five assists. Barea also hit three of the four shots that he took from the outside while nailing all seven opportunities from the free throw line.
Seldom used backup center Sala Mejri had six points, six rebounds, and two blocks. That might have earned him some more playing time this upcoming week.
Veteran big man Quincy Acy was not utilized during the game against the Houston Rockets.
Houston Rockets starters
James Harden continues to put up tremendous numbers in his new role as the starting point guard for the Houston Rockets. He had 28 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists. Those numbers would have been impressive had Harden been able to reduce the 15 misses in his 23 attempts.
Over the summer, the Houston Rockets spent a ton of money in free agency to bring in Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson, both of whom were with the New Orleans Pelicans, via free agency. They paid off against the Dallas Mavericks. The tandem produced 28 points and 15 rebounds on Sunday. Both players have been trying to prove that they are not as big of a defensive liability as they are made out to be because they want to show that they can help James Harden get further into the NBA Playoffs.
Trevor Ariza and Clint Capela quietly combined for 17 rebounds.
Houston Rockets bench
Nene Hilario, formerly of the Denver Nuggets and Washington Wizards, was given 22 minutes off the bench. He provided 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting, which was quite efficient. Sam Dekker, who is reportedly set to have his contract picked up by the Houston Rockets, tried to prove his worth by hitting all three point shots that he attempted off the bench. If he can hit his outside shots consistently, then Mike D’Antoni will put him on the floor more frequently with James Harden.
[Featured Image by Tom Pennington/Getty Images]