Rockets Defend Home Court
I thought the Mavs had the better match-ups coming into this series, and I still do but one thing the Rockets do have over the Mavs is chemistry, their 2-0 series lead is showing that.
Rockets will go to Dallas with a 2 game lead thanks to a great game by their supporting cast. The Rockets bench came through with 42 points, Corey Brewer and Josh Smith both scoring 15. Josh Smith was the X-factor in this game, also dropping 9 dimes in the 2nd half. It's not often you see Josh Smith play at a high level like he did tonight, nearly getting a triple-double with 8 boards also.
5 of Smith's dimes went to Dwight Howard, his former AAU teammate in Atlanta. Howard also had a great night, dropping 28 and 15 boards, controlling the paint for the Rockets on both ends of the court. This is the Dwight everyone wants to see on a regular basis. He is one the most talented big men in the league with the strength and size to dominate, it's no reason why we shouldn't see these number every night, especially in the playoffs.
MVP candidate, James Harden, had himself a good night at the line, going 100% and scoring 13 of his 24 at the line.
The Mavs had a horrible shooting night, 37% from the field and 27% from behind the arc. Monta Ellis and Dirk Nowitski combined went 11-37 from the field, Dirk only scoring 10 points. This was a close game but once the 4th quarter hit the Rockets took over, outscoring the Mavs 30-19.
The Mavs, as a team, only dished out 14 dimes while the Rockets finished with 25. That low assist number could be connected to Rondo only playing 10 minutes. Rondo at halftime had 4 fouls, not even playing in the 2nd half. Rondo didn't seem to be locked in tonight and Shaq pointed out that he hasn't been able to just play his game, instead being forced to run coach Carlisle plays. We seen what Rondo could do when he has the freedom to operate the offense, averaging 8 dimes for his career.
Everyone is speculating that Rondo won't return next year, which is very resonable after tonight. I'll wait until the series is over before I actually say that he will dip, but I am curious to see how him and Carlisle will interact for the rest of this series.