#712 Dallas Mavericksvs.#711 Houston Rockets
Written by Chuck D
Houston Rockets 0-1 (0-1 ATS) at Dallas Mavericks 0-1 (0-1 ATS)
When and Where: Friday, Oct. 28, American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas 8:30pm EDT
Spread: Dallas -2; Total: 220.5
Two squads from Texas that are coming off of road losses in their season openers collide on Friday night in Dallas. The Rockets were upended in Los Angeles by the Lakers 120-114. The Mavericks were able to force an overtime with the Pacers before falling 130-121. The Southwest Division rivals split their series last season at two games apiece, while Houston is 97-92 all-time vs. Dallas.
Many wondered if new head coach Mike D’Antoni was making the right choice when he asked MVP candidate James Harden to make the move over to point guard. The all-star responded with a career-high 17 assists in his debut at the position. He also scored 34 points and was two rebounds shy of a triple-double in the six-point loss in Los Angeles. Defense is already a concern in H-Town. The squad scored 71 points in the first half and took an eight-point lead into the locker rooms, but it was still not enough to earn a victory. Clint Capela, starting at center for the now departed Dwight Howard, was 8-of-11 from the field with 16 points and nine rebounds.
The positives of the game are still probably outweighed by the fact that they lost to a team that managed to win just 17 games a year ago. The did out-shoot L.A. from the floor, 51.2 percent to 50.6 percent, but struggled from behind the arc, making just seven of their 29 attempts (good enough for 24.1 percent). “We just missed, and that’s basketball,” said former Lakers and current Rockets coach D’Antoni. “The only thing I told them was, ‘The only thing that has been determined tonight is we’re not going to win 82 games.
Forward Dirk Dowitzki entered his 19th season with Dallas in style, scoring 22 points and eight rebounds in their nine-point overtime loss to the Pacers. Harrison Barnes made his debut with the Mavs by scoring 19 points and nine rebounds. Barnes became a bit expendable in Golden State when they signed Kevin Durant. As a result he signed a four-year, $95 million contract and packed his bags for Dallas. He may have to get used to losing a bit more often though after coming from a squad that lost just nine regular season games a year ago. “It was a tough one,” he said. “We let a team make 50 percent of their shots and 50 percent of their 3-pointers, yet we still had a chance to win at the end. We just came up short.”
Guard J.J. Barea played against Indiana despite issues with his elbow and came off the bench to score 22 points in 39 minutes of play. The Mavs had to outscore the Pacers by nine points in the fourth just to force the extra period but were outscored 15-6 in OT. The team ended up shooting from downtown 48 times, but just making 18 of the three-point attempts. The leading scorer on the night was Deron Williams who had 25 while he also led the team in assist with seven.
The two teams split the series in last season and thus far there are no indications that Houston has improved any. The home team is 14-6 against the spread in the last 20 meetings between these two sides and there is no reason to think that trend is going to start changing at this point. Expect a close competitive game on Friday but for the home-court advantage to payoff for the Mavericks in the end.
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Chuck Dowling is a 30-something University of Florida J-School alum that lives in his mother’s basement. Just kidding... there are no basements in Florida (the ground is too moist). He has been in the “biz” for his entire adult life and specializes in NCAA football and basketball, as well as soccer, boxing, and MMA. When not writing, Chuck moonlights as a high school athletics radio and internet-television broadcaster.