The Houston Rockets defeated the Dallas Mavericks 111-99 on Wednesday with another run-away fourth quarter. Trailing by two (82-84) a minute into the fourth, the Rockets turned to Josh Smith to bring home the victory.
After a tough first half, Smith contributed in the second half with 13 points and 9 assists, with almost half a dozen lobs to his former high school teammate Howard. Just like in game one (won by Houston, 118-108), the game went back and forth until the fourth quarter, when the Rockets high octane offense took off, again.
Smith finished the game with 15 points, 9 assists and 8 rebounds, Howard added 28 points and 12 rebounds.
For the second consecutive game, James Harden didn’t have a good shooting night, making only 5 of 17. Harden is only 30% from the field in this series, but the Rockets lean on Howard and their bench to make the difference, with Corey Brewer (15 points in both games) and Smith providing a huge boast of the bench.
The Mavericks are down 0-2 in their first-round series and will be without Chandler Parsons for the rest of the season, who injured his knee in game one. To make matters worse, they will be missing point guard Rajon Rondo as well, who sustained a back injury in game 2.
Dallas need to find a way to get Monte Ellis going, who is shooting an abysmal 33% from the field. Dirk Nowitzki had an off-night in game two, but few doubt that the veteran will bounce back in game three in Dallas.
The main concern for Dallas in the next two games, will be to keep Houston of the free throw line. The Rockets had a total of 80 FTA in the first two games, while Dallas only went to the line 45 times, a huge discrepancy.
The series move to Dallas now, where the Mavericks are 27-14. The Mavericks can’t afford to drop a game in the next home stand, as they are looking to tie the series before going back to Houston. Game three will be played on April 25, 9AM AEST.