DALLAS, TX—Monday’s 98-75 victory over the Washington Wizards was just what the Mavericks needed. Slow starts and poor defense kept Dallas (16-31) from putting away games all while falling into a 3-game losing skid. A stout performance in all four frames led to a Dallas victory.
Harrison Barnes led the way earning his eighth double-double (20-10) of the season “We take it game by game,” Barnes said. “Our biggest things are good starts in the first quarter and good starts in the third. If we do both of those things, we usually put ourselves in good position, so that is our focus more importantly.” Also worth mentioning, Dennis Smith Jr. had everyone on their feet after posting a two-handed 360 slam dunk off of a fast break.
Head Coach Rick Carlisle mentioned how Smith Jr. should be in the NBA Dunk Contest during All-Star Weekend and if he wasn’t invited “somebody’s probably not doing their job very well.” Fancy dunks alone won’t be enough to put away a team like Houston who is finally putting all the pieces together to take down the top teams.
Dallas is hoping to keep that same momentum going tonight when James Harden and the Houston Rockets (33-12) travel up I-45. Sitting at second place in the Western Conference and riding a 3-game winning streak, the Rockets have plenty to boast about coming into tonight’s matchup. Houston picked up two key victories – a huge win over conference foe Golden State 116-108 and a narrow victory over Miami 99-90 where Harden scored 28 points.
To give them an even better edge, Houston has typically dominated the series between Dallas winning five straight and 11 of the last 14 regular season meetings. The Mavs will need yet another fast start tonight in order to keep up with the Rockets. Defense will not be able to slack against a hot hand like Houston’s Chris Paul.
Dallas continues their 3-game homestand tonight at the American Airlines Center. Tipoff is set for 7:00pm.
Whitley Pleasant is a graduate of the University of North Texas with a Bachelors in Art. The Mesquite, Texas native had an early interest in media beginning in high school. Whitley spent one year being a student DJ at KEOM 88.5 FM writing scripts, editing sound bites, conducting interviews, and operating the switchboard for the morning and evening drive. Working at the radio station paved the way to her television career.