Highlights: Howard lifts Rockets over Mavericks
The Houston Rockets grabbed their fourth victory of the preseason topping the Dallas Mavericks, 100-95 in their final home game of the preseason.
They'll travel to San Antonio on Thursday, then Memphis on Friday to close out the preseason. Both games tipoff at 7 p.m. This one was probably the most ragged game of the preseason for the Rockets and maybe just what was expected in the first game for Omer Asik. It was also the first game that had Dwight Howard and Asik on the floor together. They started the game and the second half together and both appeared a little unsure of where to go and how to operate on both ends of the floor. That will surely smooth out a bit over time but not a guarantee that they'll be used together a lot as the regular season rolls along.
Houston was able to win despite 23 turnovers, mainly because they were again very sharp from long distance. They finished 13-of-28 (they missed their final four attempts) and have hit 43-of-97 (44.3%) three-pointers in their last three games. Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki was ejected from the game with 24 seconds left in the third quarter after a flagrant 2 foul on Omri Casspi. Casspi was driving to the bucket and Dirk attempted to block the shot, but his arm came crashing across Casspi's face. After reviewing the play, Nowitzki was ejected and jogged to the locker room.
Big Man’s Party
Asik played in his first preseason game and was in the starting lineup along with Howard. He looked essentially exactly like the player he was a year ago. He’s still a presence on the inside but struggling to contribute offensively. Howard has actually gone up against some nice bigs this preseason, including Samuel Dalembert Monday night.
Howard left the game for good after the third quarter, finishing with 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting and a game-high 17 rebounds. He was just 3-of-8 at the free throw stripe. Asik made just 2-of-7 shots from the floor and missed both free throws he attempted. He did grab nine boards and looked more comfortable when he was out there without Howard.
The game was over when…
When Aaron Brooks stole the ball and hit a step back 15-footer to push the Rockets lead to 94-87 with 1:58 left. The Mavs were within three at 90-87 before Greg Smith bulled his way to the goal and slammed one down just before the Brooks steal and score.
The other combination
With so much focus on Howard & Asik playing together for the first time, the other combination of Jeremy Lin and Patrick Beverley logged serious minutes together tonight. They had a nice run at the end of the second quarter. They put nice pressure on the Mavs backcourt and helped the Rockets hold Dallas to 7-of-24 (29%) shooting in the period after shooting 14-of-25 (56%) in the first quarter. Neither shot the ball well, but they combined for 13 of the Rockets 19 assists and had three steals against just four turnovers. Beverley finished a game-high (+16).
Highlight of the Night
The last basket of the first half brought the house down as Chandler Parsons darted down the left side and found Howard for the alley-oop and the thunderous slam. An old fashioned knees high, rim-rattler. It also gave the Rockets their largest lead of the night, 55-51 headed to the break. It kind of reminded me of this.
Three Out of Four Ain’t Bad
The Rockets were pretty lucky to not only hang onto their lead, but increase it from 4 to 5 in the third quarter. They shot 5-for-16. And after turning it over nine times in the first half, they fumbled it away eight times in the first 12 minutes after halftime.