Highlights: Rockets fall to Mavs
If there is one thing that has marked the opening month of the Houston Rockets season - it's gut-punching losses. You can add another to the list after their 123-120 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night.
The Rockets led this game for nearly the entire 48 minutes. They took the lead just 1:12 into the game. They pushed their lead out to as many as 18 points with 15 and a half minutes to go. They then surrendered the lead with 47 seconds to go when Shawn Marion hit a corner 3-pointer. That's 46:01 with the Rockets in front, just not when it counted.
Like their losses already to the Lakers, 99-98, and to Philadelphia, 123-117 in overtime, this one will sting.
"We could never get a handle on them," Rockets head coach Kevin McHale said. "All game long they were scoring.
"We had a lead in the fourth quarter again, just couldn't make it hold up," McHale said.
In fact, they had a 14 point lead when the final quarter began and still led by nine with five minutes remaining.
"We had some turnovers and had some point blankers that we missed. (We) had a layup that we missed late," McHale said. "We couldn't get them stopped the whole game. Dirk (Nowitzki) and (Monta) Ellis, they kind of got what they wanted."
They sure did. They both posted season highs and were the driving forces behind the Mavericks fourth-quarter comeback.
Nowitzki finished with 35 points and missed only once in the fourth quarter, going 6-of-7. Ellis had 37 points on 13-of-18 shooting and added 8 assists. Nowitzki had 14 points in the fourth quarter, with Ellis adding eight.
The loss, overshadowed a monster game from Dwight Howard. He made his first 11 shots and finished with a season-high 33 points. He also made 9-of-13 free throws. He's been significantly better on the road at the free throw line through 13 games this year.
He's made 40-of-62 free throws (64.5 percent) in the Rockets six road games, while making just 41-of-87 (47.1 percent) in the team's seven home games.
The Rockets opened the fourth quarter missing their first four shots, all 3-pointers and their 14 point lead dipped to just eight points in less than three minutes.
With the lead down to just three moments later, they appeared to steady themselves when Pat Beverley and James Harden hit back-to-back 3-pointers and built the lead back to nine points.
But the Mavericks outscored them 22-10 the rest of the way and those two 3-pointers would be the only ones Houston would make in their 10 fourth quarter attempts.
"If they go zone and we get open shots, at a certain point you are going to have to make some of those shots to open things up," McHale said. "We have good shooters, we just didn't hit the shots that we had.
"More than anything else, when you get a lead like that you got to get some stops."