Houston Rockets 136, Dallas Mavericks 103: Rockets Race past Mavs in Tremendous Third Quarter

At halftime, Houston’s home game against the Dallas Mavericks looked all too similar to the recent close games against Milwaukee, Washington and Orlando. Harden was sluggish, the defense was weak, and the opposing shooters were raining threes. After trailing 33-31 at the end of the first quarter, the Rockets buckled down and pulled ahead by three going into halftime. And then the floodgates broke. The Rockets team that blows teams out hit the floor and stunned the Mavs with as lopsided a quarter as we’ve seen all season. The Rockets won it 44-17, leading by thirty at the end of the quarter. Chandler Parsons contributed the game of his career in a signature performance against a team that looked serious about carving out a win.

If Parsons continues this level of play, he may end up with is own hashtag on twitter. He put together a mind-boggling performance against the Mavs, with his first and only miss of the night on his eleventh attempt. His 32 points on 12-13 shooting (5-6 from downtown!) was a huge part of what went well for Houston. with Harden looking a little slow due to his ankle and knee injuries, other players have to step up a bit. Players like Parsons and Lin have been willing to create and finish when defenses collapse on Harden, and tonight that plan came together nicely.

Lin got in on the fun with 21 points on 8-14 shooting, 9 assists and only 2 turnovers. lin was making circus shots at the lip and stopping to pop open midrange jumpers when Dallas gave those to him. While the question of how great Lin and Harden can be together is still on the table, it’s clear that when Harden slips, Lin can be right there to pick up the slack. His shot has been improving all year, and it’s only helped the team. He sat the entire fourth quarter yet again, but this time Harden and Asik  joined him. It was already over.

For his part, Harden harden started slow but put it together in the third, ending up with 21 points on 10 shots. He began to get to the line more as the game progressed, and he ended up with 7 points on 9 free throws for his efforts. He also dished 7 assists while giving up 0 turnovers, showing that while his ability to finish as the rim is hindered at the moment, his playmaking abilities are in full force. He also sank a couple threes in the Mavs’ face during the huge third quarter to help break the backs of the opponents.

Omer Asik also had a hand in the 15-0 Houston run to start the third quarter, beginning the half with an open dunk off a Harden pass. Asik recorded yet another double double, getting 10 points and 10 rebounds exactly. Given that he sat the entire fourth quarter, it remains impressive how consistent Asik is. Against the Mavs, he added a new wrinkle to his game, picking up 5 steals on the night, including a couple brutal steals in which he simply got ahold of the ball and wrenched it free.

New starter Donatas Motiejunas continues to earn those minutes, putting up a decent 8 point, 8 rebound, 3 assist line in 30 minutes. Motiejunas may not yet has the polish of the second and third year power forwards Houston traded away (Marcus Morris, Patrick Patterson, respectively), but his willingness to hustle for rebounds and put in the effort is amazing. After being seen as a poor rebounder and defender, Motiejunas seems intent on proving that a young dog can definitely learn new tricks, doing well in both arenas tonight (though he did flub a rotation or two). Given that he’s only started three games and he already looks like a passable starter, that bodes well for his and Houston’s long term prospects. The Rockets finally have a player for McHale to tutor in the post.

In fact, they may have more than one. Thomas Robinson showed off some nice spin moves against the Mavs. Though these weren’t very effective (fouls are a fine result, misses not so much), Robinson’s 10 point, 8 rebound, 3 steal night showed a lot of promise. In one sequence, he poked the ball loose to Beverley, took off down the court and managed to be in position to receive a sweet pass from Harden for a fastbreak dunk. If Robinson can continue to scrap on the boards and learn to expand his offensive game, he’ll be right at home in fast-paced Houston.

Patrick Beverley, who may soon be fighting with Aaron Brooks for minutes, acquitted himself well in his 23 minutes. He ran up 9 points on 5 shots and grabbed 7(!) rebounds, including 4 on offense. Many times, it was his hustle that kept a possession alive. Francisco Garcia and Tim Ohlbrecht both got their first minutes as Rockets. Garcia had a serviceable 8 points on 3-7 shooting, including a couple of big threes. Ohlbrecht only got a few minutes in garbage time, but avoided an empty line: 3 points on 2 shots, a steal and a rebound.

Delfino had a poor shooting night, 1-7 overall and a grim 0-5 from three. Parsons must have stolen his powers. James Anderson only played in garbage time, which wasn’t surprising with Garcia there to take some minutes, but Smith also failed to play in the first three quarters. For whatever reason, Smith’s minutes have been declining, and against the Mavs head coach Kevin McHale seemed to go with a bigs rotation of Asik, Motiejunas and Robinson (until it was time to empty benches.) McHale’s rotation choices are, as ever, his own, but one wonders if Smith’s defense has something to do with his recent stay in the doghouse.

The Mavs, for their part, made their lives worse by getting in foul trouble early and often. O.J. Mayo put the topping on that situation by fouling out with a minute and a half left… in the third. Dirk Nowitzki, victim of double teams all night long, had a couple of frustration fouls himself. One of those was a hit to Harden’s beard, after which Harden carefully rearranged his hairy halo before shooting a technical free throw. The Mavs, winners of the last 9 games against Houston, fell apart and looked frustrated as they did it. Houston has now pulled even with the Utah Jazz in the 7th seed, and are a mere half game behind 6th seed Golden State.

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  • thenit says 1 YEAR ago

    D-Mo and Robinson combo is superior to Morris and 2pat in rebounding. There are a little better but way more upside both defensively and offensively. Great game by every single rocket who played. Delfino was the only one who was cold.

  • Alituro says 1 YEAR ago

    Well we got 16 boards from the 4-spot last night, about 10 more than we used to. Watching Robinson, though, you could tell he's still got a lot of adjustments to make until he learns the offensive system. He was a one man wrecking ball. Once he gets acclimated he should be able to produce.

  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago

    It's going to be tough to retain him, but I feel like he is a priority signing. Really, is there a single team in the NBA that wouldn't want him on their roster?

  • Steven says 1 YEAR ago Glad Morey has the bird rights to Parsons in three off seasons from now.
  • Rahat Huq says 1 YEAR ago

    Wow. Chandler Parsons. What a f****** bargain.

    Thomas Robinson also showing he has a pulse.

  • Red94 says 1 YEAR ago New post: Houston Rockets 136, Dallas Mavericks 103: Rockets Race past Mavs in Tremendous Third Quarter
  • Steven says 1 YEAR ago

    McHale might hate Lin, but resting your starters during blowouts is common practice.


    Stefen knows this. That was the reason for his wink imotion. ;) = a wink.
  • 2016Champions says 1 YEAR ago

    McHale might hate Lin, but resting your starters during blowouts is common practice.

  • Stephen says 1 YEAR ago Obviously McHale hates Jeremy Lin and shows it by not playing Lin in the 4Q ;)Hmmm,Chandler has a good game back home in Orlando,then has a great game w/McGrady in the house,who was tearing it up in Orlando as Chandler started to play ball.
  • Steven says 1 YEAR ago

    I think brooks becomes essentially the backup SG if he can shoot well.


    Garcia has 8 points. Plus he is at least average on defense.
  • Cooper says 1 YEAR ago Parsons is on fire tonight 10-10 so far
  • Cooper says 1 YEAR ago I think brooks becomes essentially the backup SG if he can shoot well.
  • Steven says 1 YEAR ago The best player for the Rockets the first half was Rick Carlise when he took out Mike James.
  • Adi1008 says 1 YEAR ago How do you think Brooks will do as a shooting guard? A few years ago, when he was still a Rocket, he was an excellent shooter who could consistently rack up 20 points per game. I can see games/plays in which Lin drives, then kicks it out to Brooks for a three. In addition, Brooks could be similar to Harden in which he could facilitate the offense as well. While I like Lin to be the primary point guard (because that is when the Rockets are at their best), I think it could work.
  • Steven says 1 YEAR ago

    I think Brooks will fit in just fine, he can put up some points in a hurry. I can see him in a lineup with Harden and Delfino where Harden drives in draws a double team and kicks it back out to either Brooks or Delfino for the open three. Will he want to play limited minutes though?


    He will be the third PG getting limited minutes. He left Sac town because he had become the 4th PG who was relegated to the inactive list. But as a spot up shooter off of Hardin's pick and rolls will be his best asset, while he still is quick himself and can round of a pick and get to the hole, opening a shot for himself or others.
  • JSosa13 says 1 YEAR ago I think Brooks will fit in just fine, he can put up some points in a hurry. I can see him in a lineup with Harden and Delfino where Harden drives in draws a double team and kicks it back out to either Brooks or Delfino for the open three. Will he want to play limited minutes though?