(SportsNetwork.com) – Two of the NBA’s best square off in a battle for Texas
pride Saturday night when the Dallas Mavericks invade the Toyota Center to
face the Houston Rockets.
The Mavericks own the NBA’s longest current win streak at six games. They
haven’t lost since a home setback to the Miami Heat on Nov. 9. Dallas owns a
three-game road winning streak to boot.
Dirk Nowitzki scored 23 points and Monta Ellis contributed a double-double as
the Dallas Mavericks dismantled the Los Angeles Lakers, 140-106, at home on
Ellis netted 20 points on an efficient 7-of-10 shooting to go along with a
season-high 10 assists and help the Mavs score more than 100 points for the
sixth straight game.
“Our goal is to play consistent every night, not only at home, but also on the
road,” Ellis said.
Dallas, the NBA’s top-scoring team, went up against the worst defense in the
league and it showed, as the Mavs put up their highest point total of the
season on 51-of-82 (62.2 percent) shooting — including a blistering 18-of-35
(51.4 percent) clip from beyond the arc.
Chandler Parsons deposited 21 points and J.J. Barea added 16 points off the
bench for the Mavs. Al-Farouq Aminu, Brandan Wright, Jameer Nelson and Jae
Crowder also scored in double figures.
The Mavs didn’t play incredible defense against the Lakers. They held Kobe
Bryant, the league’s leading scorer, well under his average with just 17
points on 6-for-22 shooting, but the Lakers shot 51.8 percent as a team.
The sizzling 9-1 start for the Rockets has been followed by back-to-back
losses to Memphis and Los Angeles (Lakers). The loss to the Grizzlies makes
sense, but to lose to the Lakers had to sting.
Bryant scored nine of his game-high 29 points in the fourth quarter and was
countered by Rockets leading scorer James Harden, who finished with 24 points
and seven assists.
“They did a great job of bringing their 5-man up to get the ball out of my
hands,” Harden said. “We didn’t execute like we needed to to win the game.”
Kostas Papanikolaou had 19 points and Patrick Beverly ended with 15 for
Houston, which had 17 turnovers for 23 Los Angeles points. Rockets center
and former Laker Dwight Howard missed the game with a balky knee and is
questionable Saturday. Howard is averaging 18.8 points and 11.3 rebounds, but
underwent plasma therapy treatments for his troublesome knee.
With Howard sidelined, Los Angeles outscored Houston 38-20 in the paint.
Houston, which is allowing just 92.2 points on defense, opened a five-game
homestand versus the Lakers and will also host Dallas, New York, Sacramento
and the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Rockets and Mavericks will meet for the first time this season and the
Southwest Division foes split four matchups a season ago. The Mavericks have
won 15 of the last 20 games in this series and will face the Rockets three
more times in the regular season.
Dallas is 10-4 in its last 14 visits to the Toyota Center.