Like a freight train on a crystal clear night, you could see this coming from a mile away.
I don’t have the stats for back-to-back games amongst all of the NBA, but I can guarantee you that teams playing its second game in a back-to-back don’t have good winning percentages. Normally, it’s terrible. To make matters worse, when that team is without its center, point guard, and is playing one of the hottest, most talented teams in the league it certainly doesn’t help. Oh, and it’s on the road after a big-time emotional win the night before.
That smells like a recipe for disappointment. And tonight, the Mavericks liked the taste. Dallas (13-4) pounded Houston (5-13) 101-91, and it definitely wasn’t as close as the score indicated.
It was a night of runs for the Dallas Mavericks, and unfortunately for the Rockets that word is plural. Take your pick from 10-0, 10-1, and 12-2 – but the most devastating run of the night had to be the 10-1 run to close out the first half, because at one point the Rockets held a 44-42 late second quarter lead.
Down 52-45 at the half, it felt like the Rockets could surge back into the game with a strong third quarter, especially after not shooting the ball that well in the first half. But the Rockets forgot to put the “D” in defense during the third quarter. Dallas sank 13-of-17 third quarter shots, and essentially put the game out of reach. Yes, the Rockets forced jump shots, but they were shots in rhythm. And no one seemed to miss. Even Rick Adelman waived the white flag midway through the fourth period when he emptied his bench.
For Houston, no one cracked the 20 point mark. Kevin Martin led the Rockets with 17, but he shot just 4-of-15 from the field. Luis Scola (15 points and 5 rebounds) wasn’t much better at 6-for-13. And whenever the Argentine was matched up on Dirk Nowitzki (20 points on 10-of-16 from the floor) it wasn’t pretty.
It was an offense that really didn’t show much fluidity throughout the night, and couldn’t get to the rim. The lone bright spot was reserve center Brad Miller who added 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting, grabbed six boards, and added five assists. Known for his ability to pass, the veteran big man hit cutters on backcuts, and found open shooters.
Houston gave fans a sense of false hope by cutting the third quarter lead to 12 with a three, but began the fourth period by firing off a ton of bricks.
After the game, general manager described it perfectly on twitter (I took the liberty of added a few words in there because the Wizard fit this into one tweet):
“Our performance very tough to take. [The] entire Rockets nation (fans/players/coaches/management) is in pain. [We’re] working to turn [it] around. Brad was a bright spot.”
Unfortunately, he’s dead on about the pain. But at least Houston fans know he’s dead on about working to turn it around. Right now though, a turnaround seems so far away; you can barely see light at the end of the tunnel.