by: Adam Spolane, Sports Radio 610

HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) – Friday night at Toyota Center, the Dallas Mavericks threw everything they had at the Rockets after falling behind by as many as 22 points in the second, but it wasn’t enough as the Rockets improved to 2-0 with a 113-105 win.

It wasn’t that close. Dallas knocked down four three pointers in the last 100 seconds in a scoring barrage that looked similar to the Rockets 38 point first quarter which netted them a 16 point cushion. James Harden was the catalyst with 12 points on just five shots on his way to a 34-point night. Houston had nine offensive rebounds in the game’s first 12 minutes and outrebounded the Mavs 19-7.

In the second quarter, Jeremy Lin, who started for the injured Patrick Beverly gave the Rockets a 53-31 lead with 5:53, but Dallas was able to cut the lead in half with a 19-8 run to close the first half. Lin finished the game with 14 points. Houston’s offense flowed in the first half, but the second half was a different story.

It started with the Mavs playing zone, something the Rockets hadn’t seen this season, and then the Mavs started fouling, and fouling, and fouling some more. We got our first look at Hack-a-Howard, and it worked, at least it did at first. He missed his first six free throws, but then made five of his last six. In all, Dallas committed 26 second half fouls resulting in 38 Rockets free throws. All 12 of Howard’s free throw attempts came in the second half.

After shooting 54% in the first half, the Rockets cooled off and shot 37% in the second, they never were able to find a rhythm due to the zone and all the fouling, the good thing was the Dallas was just as a bad. They were held to just 38% shooting, and it’s the second straight game the Rockets have held an opponent below 40%.

Howard finished with 13 points and 16 rebounds, while Dirk Nowitzki led Dallas with 22 points, but he fouled out early in the fourth quarter. The Mavericks are now 1-1 and will face the Rockets again on November 20 at American Airlines Center.

Friday’s game was the start of a four games in five nights stretch. The next three will be on the road starting with a game in Utah Saturday night.


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