EditorsNote: fixes typo in second graph
James Harden picked up a fifth foul in the opening seconds of the third quarter, missed 18 of his 25 shots and took just three free throws. But a healthy Houston Rockets team is far from a one-man show.
Eric Gordon picked up the slack with a game-high 26 points for the visiting Rockets, who extended their win streak to a season-best eight games in a 94-93 victory Sunday night against the free-falling Dallas Mavericks.
Rockets center Clint Capela added 17 points and 12 rebounds, and Chris Paul had nine points and nine assists despite suffering a 2-for-11 shooting night.
But it was Paul who came through in the final seconds with a game-saving blocked shot as Mavericks rookie guard Jalen Brunson tried a jumper at the buzzer to preserve the low-scoring win.
Dallas failed to take advantage when Harden, who picked up his fourth foul right before Houston took a 58-54 lead into halftime, took a seat just seconds into the third quarter. Gordon scored the Rockets’ first eight points of the period to keep the Mavs from picking up any momentum.
When Harden returned with 3:03 left in the quarter, Houston still held a five-point lead. Immediately, Harden drove and completed a three-point play and then drained a step-back 3, just his third on 15 attempts, for a 79-70 lead. It added up to Harden’s lowest point total in three months.
Dallas, losers of five in a row, tied the game at 89-89 on a Tim Hardaway Jr. 3-pointer with 4:04 remaining in the fourth quarter, but he and Luka Doncic missed 3-pointers that would have given Dallas the lead. Rockets forward P.J. Tucker then hit a corner 3 to make it 94-91 with 1:29 to go.
Doncic, who was hobbling late in the game, led the Mavs with 19 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists. He didn’t have a good shooting game, going 5 of 16 overall and 1 of 6 from beyond the arc.
Brunson, a rookie taken in the second round out of national champion Villanova, scored 18 points with seven reounds. Reserve forward Maximilian Kleber was the only other Mavs player to score in double figures with 10 points while adding 11 rebounds.
—Field Level Media