Dallas Mavericks at Houston Rockets Preview
The Dallas Mavericks will travel to Houston tonight for a Southwest Division showdown with James Harden and the Houston Rockets.
The Mavericks have struggled on the road this season and have actually struggled in general as of late. They are 26-29 on the season. They are currently 11th in the Western Conference, are 6-4 in their last 10, but enter tonight’s game having won their most recent game. Houston lost their last game, but they are fifth in the West with a 32-23 record and are 6-4 in their last 10 games.
In their most recent matchup on December 8, the Mavericks won 107-104 behind 21 points from Luka Doncic. James Harden led the Rockets with 35 points, and tonight’s game should provide another opportunity to see the veteran Harden square off against the rookie wunderkind.
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
Arena: Toyota Center, Houston, TX
Channel: NBA TV
Dallas Mavericks Starting Lineup
|PG||Dennis Smith Jr.|
The Mavericks are still trying to get accustomed to a team with so much roster transition coming at a rough part of the year. Aside from trading for injured star Kristaps Porzingis and trading away Harrison Barnes, which meant three of their five starters are wearing different uniforms, the Mavericks have still won three of their last four games.
Unfortunately, even after that feat, they would have an almost insurmountable task of getting things together quickly and going on a crazy second-half run to get into playoff position, but Dallas seems patient and made the trade for Porzingis keeping their future in mind.
In their last game, the Mavericks limited the Portland Trail Blazers to just nine fourth-quarter points in their 102-101 victory. Luka Doncic led Dallas with 28 points, nine rebounds, and six assists. Tim Hardaway Jr., who came to Dallas in the trade for Porzingis, scored 24 points, and Dwight Powell chipped in 13 points and eight rebounds.
The Mavericks defense will be put to the test tonight against Harden, who has been on a streak of 30-plus point games.
“It’s the Western Conference. It’s another tough set of matchups coming at you 100 miles an hour,” said Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle about the matchup with the Rockets.
After tonight’s game, Dallas has one more game against the Heat before the All-Star break.
Houston Rockets Starting Lineup
The Rockets’ three-game winning streak was snapped on Saturday as they fell 112-117 against the Oklahoma City Thunder. They had previously won against the Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns, and Sacramento Kings, which moved them up a bit in the Western Conference standings.
The Rockets struggled defensively against the Thunder as they had no answer for Paul George, who had 45 points and 11 rebounds. Russell Westbrook also had a triple-double against them with 21 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists. But the Rockets were able to stay competitive because of another James Harden standout game. He finished with 42 points, but the Rockets were outscored 42-20 in the third quarter, which became too much to overcome.
Chris Paul nearly added a triple-double with 18 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists, and Kenneth Faried was solid yet again with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Newest Rocket Iman Shumpert managed just three points and four rebounds in 35 minutes in his Rockets debut.
The Rockets expect to have Capela back after the all-star break, which should make them relatively deep as they make a run before the playoffs.
Dallas Mavericks at Houston Rockets Betting Odds
The Rockets are 10-point favorites to win tonight’s game at the Toyota Center, where they are 19-9 this season. Houston is also 25-16 as the favorite, while Dallas is just 6-21 on the road and 11-22 as the underdog.
The over/under is 221 points and the Rockets are -620 on the moneyline after opening at -650. Against the spread, Dallas is 34-12-19 and Houston is 25-17-13.
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