• Kory Waldron

Rockets Send Mavs Home in 5

Dwight h ust.jpg

*Photo via USA Today

Game 5: Dallas Mavericks vs. Houston Rockets

In game five, the second “win or go home” game for the Dallas Mavericks, the Houston Rockets took care of business by defeating the Mavericks 103-94.

Unlike last game, both teams came out matching one another shot for shot. Both James Harden and Dwight Howard were aggressive early. Harden was four for seven early for nine points and added five assists; Howard had four early points with seven rebounds and a block.

On the other side, Monta Ellis and Al-Farouq Aminu had the hot hands early. Ellis had a quick 10 points, while Aminu had seven points and three steals. However, the Rockets would take a 31-22 lead after the first quarter despite seven turnovers, primarily do to the Mavericks shooting just 42 percent from the field and a horrid 17 percent from behind the arc.

The second quarter would again stay close, even though the Mavericks would go five minutes with only three points scored on one for 10 shooting. However, another eight second quarter turnovers by the Rockets kept the Mavericks close. At the half, the Mavericks were only down by six, despite another poor shooting quarter. The Mavericks shot just 38 percent from the field, and a cringing eight percent from three. Luckily the Mavericks were able to take advantage from the line going 13 for 17. Another issue for the Mavericks in the first half was the poor shooting of Dirk Nowitzki who was just two for 11. The highlight of the second was the bench scoring; the Rockets’ bench out scored the Mavericks’ 24 to eight. Josh Smith was the leading scorer of the Rockets bench, scoring 16 points while grabbing seven rebounds.

The key stat of the first half was second chance points, the Rockets had 15 second chance points too just five Maverick second chance points.

At the start of the second half, the Mavericks came out firing. The Rockets would match this fire-show by attacking the basket. Every run the Mavericks would make to cut the deficit to a one or two possession game, the Rockets would proceed to go on their own run. The Mavericks were led by Ellis in the third, who scored 10 points to keep it to just a seven point deficit heading into the fourth.

Key for the Rockets in the third: they surrendered just one turnover in the quarter, playing a much cleaner game.

However, the sloppy play returned for the Rockets to start off the fourth quarter. The Rockets would give up two consecutive turnovers, which led to easy Maverick points. The Mavericks, before the five minute mark, had been on a tear the prior seven minutes, going on a 17 to eight run, cutting the Rockets lead to three! Unfortunately the Rockets’ Terrance Jones would go on his own run. Just under five minutes remaining, Terrance Jones would draw Nowitzki’s fifth foul as well, convert the “and-1.” Monta Ellis would as well be injured on the play however he would return shortly after. On the following Rockets Possession, Jones would then hit a dagger three to extend the lead back to nine at the four-minute mark. The Rockets, again, because of sloppy play, would give the Mavericks a glimmer of hope as they cut the lead back down to five. Near the one-minute mark, Dirk would make a critical turnover to Harden who then set up Jones for an easy lay-up. With the lead back up to eight, James Harden would put the final touches on the series-ending win for the Rockets.

Player of the Game: Dwight Howard had a monstrous night to close out the series. Howard shot 50 percent from the field and added four points from the line for 18 points, he also grabbed 19 rebounds with three of them being offensive. Defensively, Howard had four steals and four blocked shots.

Dud of the Game: As good as J.J Barea was in game four, he was average in game five. Barea had nine assists, however he had just six points and shot just three for 12 from the field with three turnovers.

Stat of the Game: The Houston Rockets bench outscored the Dallas Mavericks bench, 32-16.

Breakdown: The Rockets played a very sloppy game, shown by their 21 turnovers with 15 coming in the first half. However, every other aspect of the game the Rockets played superb basketball. They won the rebounding battle 53-47, had 22 assists as a team along with nine steals ans six blocked shots. Along with this the Rockets shot 45 percent from the field and 32 percent from three. With the performance by James Harden, Dwight Howard, the scrappy Terrance Jones and Josh Smith off the bench, this Rockets team, assuming they can clean up the turnovers, will have a chance to continue this run in the playoffs.

The Dallas Mavericks looked like a team with a lot of heart tonight, just not enough energy left over. The Mavericks shot 38 percent from the field and just 19 percent from three on five for 26 shooting. The Mavericks, who of course were pressing, surrendered 19 turnovers, with more than half coming in the second half. The Mavericks’ stars of Ellis and Nowitzki put in their best effort, taking 49 of the 92 team shots just not enough went their way. Foul trouble was another issue the Mavs faced, with Aminu and Nowitzki both being in trouble much of the second half. The Mavericks season is over and it looks as if changes are incoming this off-season.

The Houston Rockets win the series 4-1. They will play either the Los Angeles Clippers or the San Antonio Spurs in the Conference Semi-finals.

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