Howard: 'Our defense wasn't where it needed to be tonight'
The Rockets, and their fans, have seen it countless times before. Dirk Nowitzki carried the Dallas Mavericks with 31 points, including ten in the fourth quarter as Dallas beat the Rockets, 111-104.
His work in the fourth quarter, merely thwarted a Rockets comeback attempt. The game swung in the Mavericks favor for good during a 15-1 run to open the third quarter.
“We had a bad start to the third quarter. (We had) too many live ball turnovers,” Rockets head coach Kevin McHale said.” They got out and ran and got a bunch of momentum and we fought back but we could never get it back under control after that.
“We had a stretch that we weren’t very good and we missed some shots and they made shots,” McHale said.” They made I think three or four threes during that run. They got separation that they needed and we couldn’t come back.”
It was a trio of threes that the Mavericks knocked down in that stretch. Jose Calderon, Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis each hit a 3-pointer in a 93-second stretch helped flip a six point deficit into a five point lead as 63-58.
As the Mavericks were clicking, the Rockets were missing their first five shots of the half and while they did draw within 69-68 moments later, Houston would never regain the lead.
“They hit a lot of tough shots tonight, especially in the second half,” Dwight Howard said. “They shot great the whole game. When a team is shooting that good, they are tough to beat.
“I just think our defense wasn’t where it needed to be tonight,” Howard said. “We allowed them to get a lot of open threes.”
Dallas shot 50 percent on 3-pointers, making 11-of-22. Those are identical to how they shot on 3-pointers in the last meeting, also a Mavericks victory.
Howard nearly posted his second consecutive game of 30 or more points, finishing with 29 points and 15 rebounds. Over his last seven games, Howard is averaging 24 points and 13 rebounds, while shooting 67 percent from the field.
Howard successfully summarized the game as well, “They beat us tonight. Plain and simple.”