Mavs defeat Rockets behind Luka Doncic’s triple-double

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Houston Rockets
Jan 4, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) shoots the ball against the Houston Rockets during the fourth quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

January 5, 2021

Luka Doncic produced a 30-point triple-double, his first of the season, while Tim Hardaway Jr. repeatedly drilled timely perimeter shots as the visiting Dallas Mavericks claimed a 113-100 victory over the Houston Rockets on Monday.

Doncic, who sat in a loss at Chicago on Sunday with a quad contusion, finished with 33 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists to pace the Mavericks. However, it was Hardaway who proved most lethal to Houston by scoring 30 points off the bench on 8-of-10 3-point shooting.

Dallas finished 16 for 39 from deep and 19 of 20 from the free-throw line. Houston had multiple rallies from double-digit deficits yet could not get over the hump, undermined by poor shooting.

Christian Wood led the Rockets with 23 points and seven rebounds but the guard trio of James Harden (21 points, 10 assists), Eric Gordon (20 points) and John Wall (14 points, four assists) shot a combined 14 of 39.

Houston missed 29 of 40 3-pointers and shot just 39 percent overall.

Dallas stretched a 12-point halftime lead to 18 early in the third, only to see the Rockets rally with a 14-0 blitz that featured a Harden 3-pointer and a six-point possession from Jae’Sean Tate.

But Hardaway stroked 3-pointers with 2:55 and 1:08 left in the period to keep the Mavericks afloat, and after Houston pulled even at 85-85 on a Sterling Brown 3 at the 10:00 mark of the fourth, Hardaway hit a trey with 7:31 to play that keyed the Mavericks’ closing surge to victory.

Despite playing in the second game of a back-to-back, the Mavericks flexed plenty of early energy.

Dallas quickly blitzed to a 14-point lead in the first quarter by taking advantage of the Rockets’ poor shooting and inability to defend without fouling. Houston had as many turnovers as field goals (three apiece) by the 5:46 mark of the opening period and Dallas led 33-21 at the close of the first, converting all 11 of its free throws while recording 10 second-chance points.

The Rockets recorded five turnovers while shooting 6 of 17 in the first yet, behind a spirited three minutes from DeMarcus Cousins, converted a 17-4 run into a 40-38 deficit on a Wood three-point play with 6:53 left in the half.

Cousins earned a double technical and an ejection after posting four points, three rebounds and two blocks to spark Houston, but Dallas responded with two 3s from Josh Richardson, one each from Hardaway and Dorian Finney-Smith plus a three-point play and 3-pointer from Doncic to reclaim a 61-49 lead at the intermission.

Dallas entered play last in the NBA in 3-point percentage yet shot 10 of 22 prior to the break.

–Field Level Media