NBA Playoffs: Houston Rockets vs Dallas Mavericks Game 3 Preview

By Tamberlyn Richardson
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NBA Playoffs: Houston Rockets vs Dallas Mavericks

Rockets Lead Series 2-0

Game 3:

Record: 56-26,  Western: 2 Seed                         Record: 50-32, Western: 7 Seed

Southwest: Won Division, last ten 7-3                               Southwest: 4th, last ten 5-5

Houston Rockets

 vs. Houston Rockets

Fri Apr 24, 7:00 PM EST – ESPN, C+D, RTSW, KTXA

American Airlines Center – Dallas, TX

 Recent Match-ups

Apr 22 DAL 99-111 HOU            Apr 19 DAL 108-118 HOU           Apr 3 HOU 108-101 DAL

Feb 21 HOU 100-111 DAL                       Jan 29 DAL 94-99 HOU

Story Lines:

  • The Rockets enter the night up 2-0 in the series having taken care of business on their home court. A win tonight would bury the Mavericks and force them into a win or go home state for the remainder of the series.
  • The big news of the day is Chandler Parsons is done for the season with the knee which definitely makes things much more difficult for Dallas.
  • Another shocking injury update was Rajon Rondo (notorious for playing through injury) will be out with a back problem sustained in Game 2 guarding Harden. He fell in the paint and looking back the play seemed innocuous enough, but he’s listed as out for the entire playoffs. Certainly the conjecture is the Rondo vs Carlisle experiment didn’t work and I think the writing is already on the wall for him to be signing elsewhere in the off season. Lakers anyone?
  • The one piece of positive injury news is Devin Harris not who only played ten minutes in Game 1 and missed all of Game 2 is slated to go this evening .
  • Perhaps the biggest question surrounding tonight’s game is what adjustments Rick Carlisle will make specifically on the defensive end of the ball.
  • Another high point isn’t just finding the right defense but who you decide to ease up on given the Rockets are coming at the Mavericks from every area of the court: In Game 1 the Rockets ex-Mavericks lit up Dallas and in Game 2 it was a AAU showcase with Josh Smith and Dwight Howard repeatedly burning the Mavericks interior defense for dunk, after dunk after dunk. In fact, it was arguably Smith’s best game as a Rocket. It does pose the question with two 24 point efforts in the first two games can the Mavericks continue to hold James Harden under 30 points and also make adjustments to stop the other areas of the Rockets’ potent offense?
  • Sure he’s got 24 points in each of the first two games, but James Harden has shot 9 for 28 through the first two games from the field. 2 of 9 from behind the arc and has repeatedly got to the line for a total of 28-30 (15-17 Game 1) (13-13 Game 2) through the first 2 games. Certainly feels like he’s due for a good shooting night and it feels like this might be his night.
  • Prior to Game 2 if  Dwight Howard could stay on the floor and he certainly did that and more scoring 28 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in logging his most minutes since his return (33). He looked agile and opened the entire court for Houston especially when Josh Smith and him went on their combo terror in the second half. It’s not often you see Tyson Chandler at a loss defensively (and he was).  Most impressively he shot 8 of 11 from the free throw line.
  • The ex-Mavericks  Corey Brewer continues to figure prominently as does the Rockets’ bench which is notable given how much higher the Mavericks bench ranked during the regular season. .

Next: The Numbers Don't Lie