Parsons returns to Houston, Mavericks look to stay hot against Rockets
By Rami Michail
The Dallas Mavericks (10-3) are rolling. The Houston Rockets (9-3) have been just as hot. But all the talk and attention will be on Chandler Parsons.
This will be Parsons’ first game in Houston after leaving this past offseason to join Dirk Nowitzki, Monta Ellis, and Rick Carlisle in Dallas.
Parsons finally eclipsed the twenty point mark after falling short the last eight games. He had 21 points on 8-13 shooting against the Lakers.
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Number 1 O vs Number 1 D
The Mavericks just took on the worst rated defensive team in the league, the Los Angeles Lakers, and dropped 140 points.
They’ll now be taking on the NBA’s number one ranked defensive team. The Rockets come in with a league best 94.6 D-rating. They’re also second in point allowed per game; they give up just 92.2. Their 41.5% opponent field goal percentage is tied for the best mark in the NBA as well.
Houston has been without Dwight Howard the last two games and lost both. Without Dwight, the Rockets’ defense won’t be up to expectations, which could give the Mavericks a big edge.
Monta vs Harden
The Mavs will have their hands full, as always, with James Harden. Harden is averaging team-highs of 23.8 points and 6.8 assists.
Ellis, coming off a 20 point, 10 assists night, is also leading his team in points and assists; he’s averaging 19.7 points and 4.6 assists.
It’s unlikely these two will be guarding each other. Parsons will probably guard Harden after matching up with Kobe Bryant last night. And Trevor Ariza could see majority of the time on Ellis.
Both teams rely so heavily on their guards to make plays, both scoring and creating. The guard who can have his way could dictate the outcome.
Who Guard Dirk?
Nowitzki is having another stellar season. He’s averaging 19.4 points and shooting a ridiculous 54.7% from the field and 49% from three.
Terrance Jones has only played in four games this season and is still out. Howard’s availability seems unlikely. With a thin and weaker front court, the Big German might be free to do Dirk-like things.
Again, much of the attention will be on Parsons and rightfully so. But this is a game that the Mavs need to do Mavs things to come out with a win. They need to keep moving the ball, get all five players on the court involved, and make this a complete team effort.
Outside of Harden, the Mavs must keep their eyes glued on Ariza, who is shooting 39.2% from three and averaging 14.5 points. Former Mav Jason Terry is shooting 45% from three and scoring 7.4 points a night.
With Howard probably out, the focus needs to be on shutting down Harden and keeping him out of the paint if the Mavs want to notch their seventh straight win. Ariza, Terry, and the other Rockets’ production have a lot to do with Harden’s penetrating.