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Houston Rockets Recap: Rockets Win Battle of Texas

By Tamberlyn Richardson
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Houston Rockets Recap:

The Rockets knew it was an important game and they knew it would be a hard fought battle given Dwight Howard wasn’t available. Factor in Dallas was on a 3-game losing streak (their longest of season) and we knew it would be a well contested battle.

There are the other factors such as the inter division battle, both teams being in Texas, the on-going battle between Rocket GM Daryl Morey and Dallas owner Mark Cuban and the fact the Rockets sat ahead of Dallas and didn’t want to lose there 1.5 game edge.

79. . 99. 169. 94

We first heard Howard was unlikely to play following practice when news leaked out he had re-tweaked the right ankle he hurt in Phoenix, but then news surfaced yesterday it was actually his knee. In fact, it was the same right knee that kept him out of 11 games earlier this season. And, while the Rockets big man was unavailable the good news was Terrence Jones did return to the line-up after missing all but 4 games this season.

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The win was achieved via an even distribution of scorers with Harden taking on the roll of play maker more than just a scorer. Without Howard this may be the way the Rockets will need to play moving forward until his return.

I’ve lamented all season on how Harden and Howard don’t seem to work in concert enough. It just seems the Rockets would do better if they worked the ball inside out and utilized both of their stars to their utmost. Often it’s one or the other who does well but seldom do both players have big nights. Perhaps if Harden is forced into being more of a play maker and distributor it will assist with accomplishing this when Howard returns.

The other key factor in the win was Dallas turnovers. Houston had been the team who has issues taking care of the ball so far this season, but managed to outplay Dallas in this regard. The Mavericks had 24 turnovers which resulted in 31 points compared to Houston’s 16 for 18 points.

THE STARTERS

<div class=. SG. Rockets. JAMES <STRONG>HARDEN</STRONG>. B+

James Harden was dogged all night with aggressive defense namely by Rajon Rondo although many of the Mavericks collapsed on him. He did have 8 assists but he looked fatigued by the Rondo effect and took a couple of hits and had one hard knee to knee hit that appeared to really hurt him late in the game.

Perhaps his best move was taking the ball hard to the hole early in the game and finishing hard on Dirk Nowitzki who took a Harden elbow to the jaw. Nowitzki didn’t look himself after that elbow and I wonder if they’ll check him for a concussion today given how hard the hit was. Moving forward this type of offense came about because of how Harden was defended, but given how well the team shared and scored the ball it does seem like a good theme to utilize in Howard’s absense. His tied Corey Brewer with four steals to lead the team.

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B+

James Harden was dogged all night with aggressive defense namely by Rajon Rondo although many of the Mavericks collapsed on him. He did have 8 assists but he looked fatigued by the Rondo effect and took a couple of hits and had one hard knee to knee hit that appeared to really hurt him late in the game.

Perhaps his best move was taking the ball hard to the hole early in the game and finishing hard on Dirk Nowitzki who took a Harden elbow to the jaw. Nowitzki didn’t look himself after that elbow and I wonder if they’ll check him for a concussion today given how hard the hit was. Moving forward this type of offense came about because of how Harden was defended, but given how well the team shared and scored the ball it does seem like a good theme to utilize in Howard’s absense. His tied Corey Brewer with four steals to lead the team.

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