These two teams met less than 2 weeks ago at the Toyota Center in which the Houston Rockets came out with a 100-95 preseason win over the Dallas Mavericks. There’s much more at stake on Friday night as both teams come in victorious from their season openers. Added into that is Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who had some comments for Dwight Howard about his free agent decision this past summer.
The Mavericks were one of the teams hoping to sign Howard, and met with him thinking they had a good shot at landing the superstar center. On Thursday, Cuban thought it was time to express his opinions on Howard going to Houston:
“Obviously, he made a mistake in judgment. Do I blame him? No, that’s what young kids do. They make mistakes in judgment. You choose teams. You don’t choose players, if he made a choice off of an individual player, yeah, he made a mistake. You choose teams. You choose organizations. You choose coaches. And it’s just not relative to Houston.”
Perhaps Cuban is expressing confidence in his own team this season after the Mavs missed the playoffs for the first time last year since 2000. They seem to match up very well with the Rockets, as it showed in the pre-season game.
Both Patrick Beverley and James Harden suffered injuries in the opener, with Beverley sitting out for the rest of the second half. Both are officially listed as a game-time decision, but will likely play.
Dominating The Boards
Omer Asik’s performance was overshadowed by Howard’s 17 points, 26 rebounds performance; as Asik pulled down 14 rebounds of his own and helped defend Bobcats Al Jefferson well. It should be more of the same Friday night as the Mavericks will trot out Samuel Dalembert and DeJuan Blair to bang with the twin towers down low. The interesting matchup will be how the Rockets start off defending Dirk Nowitzki. Howard will most likely defend him, but taking him out of the paint on defense could open up some gaping holes for the Mavericks to attack.
Equaling The Pace
The Mavericks have become a fast-paced offensive team in their own right now, as they put up 118 points against the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night. Monta Ellis seems to have the green light to shoot or attack at anytime, and the floor is spread with knockdown shooters in Nowitzki, Jose Calderon, Vince Carter, and Wayne Ellington.
While the Rockets defense is vastly improved, they will still have to score a lot of points to come out on top. Coach Kevin McHale wasn’t necessarily pleased with the way his team looked on the offensive end Wednesday night:
“We did not play the way we normally play. We had three on ones where we didn’t pass the ball. We played very unlike ourselves. We weren’t getting out running. The ball was sticky. Everybody was trying to come back and get the ball. We’ve got a lot of stuff we have to clean up on. If we had played this way for a month, I would be really concerned. This is the first time we’ve played like this since the first practice.”
Hopefully, that season opening rust can wear off come game time Friday night.
Tip-Off: 7 PM CST
TV: CSN Houston