Preview: Rockets host Dallas Mavericks

Preview: Rockets host Dallas Mavericks
November 1, 2013, 12:00 pm
Share This Post
(USA Today Sports Images)

On Friday night, the Houston Rockets (1-0) host the Dallas Mavericks (1-0) at 7 p.m. at Toyota Center. Last year at this time, it was the Rockets who had made significant, wholesale changes to their roster.  Now it’s the Mavericks who bring a drastically different lineup to the court.

Forward Shawn Marion is the only Maverick who was in the starting lineup last year and again on Wednesday night when they opened their season with a 118-109 win over the Atlanta Hawks.

Star forward Dirk Nowitzki was hurt, but everyone else has been replaced. Monta Ellis and Jose Calderon make up their new backcourt. Each essentially did what is expected in their opener.
Ellis fired up a bunch of shots, a team-leading 17 attempts and Calderon led the team with 11 assists.

Ellis made 11 of his 17 shots and paced the Mavericks with 32 points and that’s a little bit more than can be expected on a nightly basis.

That duo, along with former Rockets center Samuel Dalembert, brings a very different starting lineup to town for the first of four games between these southwest division foes.

“They’ve got a very good backcourt,” Rockets guard James Harden said.

“Jose Calderon is an excellent point guard, does all the right things and doesn’t turn the ball over.” he added.

“Monta (Ellis) is explosive and can score the ball with anyone,” Harden said. “We need to slow those guys down, because that’s how Dirk (Nowitzki) gets his touches.

As the starting power forward, Dwight Howard will again be tasked with checking Nowitzki.

“This will be a good test for us. Dallas is a very good offensive team,” Howard said.

“It’s going to be tough for us against a team that can really put points up on the board,” he said.

Harden said defending Nowitzki is a huge challenge.

“Nobody’s going to block Dirk’s shot, because he’s so tall and he shoots behind his head,” Harden said. “But if we can contest it and gang rebound, then we have a better shot.”