EditorsNote: revises last two paragraphs
Chris Paul shook the Houston Rockets from their lethargy with a near triple-double, leading the way to a 104-97 victory over the undermanned Dallas Mavericks on Sunday at Toyota Center in Houston.
Paul finished with 25 points, eight rebounds, nine assists and three steals, providing the spark down the stretch of the third quarter that enabled the Rockets to extend their winning streak to eight games.
Houston led by just six points before Paul strung together three free throws, a driving layup and an assist on an Eric Gordon 3-pointer that upped the advantage to 87-75 entering the fourth.
James Harden added 27 points, six rebounds and five assists but shot just 6 of 19 for Houston. The Rockets connected on only 28.9 percent (13 of 45) of their 3-point tries and appeared a step slow on both ends before Paul injected some life into their offense just long enough to build a cushion.
Clint Capela posted a double-double (16 points, 11 boards), and Gerald Green added 12 points while burying four 3-pointers off the bench for Houston. The Rockets improved to 3-0 against Dallas this season.
The Mavericks left Dirk Nowitzki, Wesley Matthews and J.J. Barea back in Dallas following their home triumph over the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday night. They received a spirited effort from those who made the trip, with Dwight Powell (18 points, 12 rebounds) and Yogi Ferrell (20 points) leading the charge. Dallas rookie guard Dennis Smith Jr. paired 16 points with 11 assists.
The Mavericks’ 36-point second quarter was largely a byproduct of their collective hustle. Dallas repeatedly beat the Rockets to 50/50 balls and turned four offensive rebounds in the period into 13 second-chance points, including a follow dunk with one second left by Kyle Collinsworth.
Dallas closed the half with a plus-12 advantage in shot attempts, a total that helped offset 42.3 percent shooting. However, the Rockets led 57-55 at halftime.
When Houston dashed to a 10-point lead in the first period, it feasted on Dallas’ inferior interior defense. The Rockets made 6 of 7 shots inside the arc in the opening quarter, but when the Mavericks began to hustle hard, Houston needed Paul to lead its charge.
—Field Level Media