Dallas Mavericks bounce back from back-to-back losses to get a great road win over the Houston Rockets 111-104. It was vintage Dirk Nowitzki with 31 points to make it an historic night.
The Mavs started the game well, but their defensive deficiencies started to rear their ugly head. Dirk had seven points to match Howard’s seven points. Chandler had nine for the Rockets to lead all scorers in the first quarter.Vince Carter had vintage highlight dunk in the first, he continued his solid play in the second quarter.
The Rockets shot the ball well in the first half, 62.2% from the field including 5-for-9 from behind the arc. Defense in the paint was just as poor. Dwight Howard scored 16 of his 29 points in the half making 6-out-of-8 shots. Rockets went into halftime with a seven point lead, 57-50.
Rick Carlisle on the 1st half:
We had a disappointing first half and at halftime we just talked about hanging in. We were very fortunate just to be down seven and we felt like with defense in front of us in the second half, we can help the guys a little bit and felt like if we just hung in, we could give ourselves a shot…
Then it all happened. At the 11:09 mark in the third quarter Dirk Nowitzki officially became the 13th All-Time NBA Scorer in history and he switch flipped on.
Dallas went on a 15-1 run to make it 65-58 with 8:08 left in the third. The lead balloned to as much as 12. Jose Calderon (15 pts), Monta Ellis (18 pts), and Vince Carter (16 pts) started to catch fire.
We just tried to find the mix-match, trying to find the way to score the ball. They switching out of a lot of pick and rolls with Dirk, so we were just trying to find him…same with Monta. We were just trying to circulate the ball better than the first half
The Rockets entered the game ranked 23rd in the league on defense. For some unknown reason, they decided to let their shorter players guard Dirk and he just simply shot over them. Dirk was 6-for-9 from the field for 18 points in the second half.
Dirk on the Rockets defense:
I think they had a lot of respect for our shooters at that point…they were a little hesitant to double me there. I’ve got to take advantage of some obvious matchups. When they play me with 6 ‘7, 6 ‘8 guys that I can shoot over, thats what I have been doing my whole career.
The Mavs closed out the fourth quarter to secure the road win. They outscored the Rockets 61-47 in the second half.
Even Dwight could not explain what happened:
They hit a lot of tough shots tonight, especially in the second half. They shot great the whole game. When a team is shooting that good they are tough to beat, but it’s the NBA. We’ve got to get ready for the next game. [We have] to figure out what we did wrong and try to correct it.
The Mavs have Christmas day off and will face the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday.