EditorsNote: changes to “17 minutes” and “26 points” in 2nd graf; fixes “Luka” in fourth graf; fixes House’s points in seventh graf
Reserve guards J.J. Barea and Devin Harris played the role of co-closers and supported a balanced attack from the starters as the Dallas Mavericks won for just the second time on the road by throttling the short-handed Houston Rockets 128-108 on Wednesday.
Harris scored 15 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter while Barea posted a double-double of 13 points and 12 assists in just 17 minutes. The Rockets trailed by as many as 26 points before cutting the deficit to five points late in the third quarter, only for Barea and Harris to apply the knockout blow.
Houston dropped its fourth consecutive game following a five-game win streak. Dallas won for the seventh time in eight games.
Before Barea and Harris finished off the Rockets, Mavericks rookie forward Luka Doncic and the four remaining starters helped craft that insurmountable lead. Doncic posted 20 points on 6-of-11 shooting plus six rebounds while center DeAndre Jordan added 13 points and seven boards. Harrison Barnes also chipped in 13 points while Dennis Smith Jr. had 10 points and four steals.
The Mavericks shot 54.1 percent overall while draining 17 of 34 3-point attempts in the dismantling.
James Harden produced his first triple-double on the season with 25 points, 11 rebounds, and a career-high-tying 17 assists. Harden also nabbed six steals but posted eight turnovers in 37 minutes as the Rockets again played without guard Chris Paul and swingman Gerald Green.
Clint Capela, Danuel House Jr. and James Ennis III scored 18 points apiece for the Rockets while Eric Gordon chipped in 17 each.
What was a strong shooting performance for the Mavericks in the first quarter morphed into something extraordinary in the second. Dallas left the Rockets’ defense scrambling in the opening period, pairing 16 points in the paint with five 3-pointers — two from Doncic in the left corner at the shot-clock buzzer.
After closing the first quarter with a 10-4 run, Dallas caught fire in the second and turned an eight-point margin into a 57-38 lead at the 6:43 mark of the frame.
The Mavericks shot 8 of 8 during that decisive stretch, starting with a Dwight Powell layup with 11:06 left in the half and concluding on Wesley Matthews’ tough turnaround fadeaway. Dallas hit 13 of 20 attempts in the second period, including 5 of 7 from behind the arc. Doncic, Jordan and Matthews were all in double figures in points, and the Mavericks led 74-56 at the break.
—Field Level Media