No Dwight Howard. No Terrence Jones. No problem. The Houston Rockets (10-3) avoid a massive late charge from the Dallas Mavericks (10-4) and hold on to a 95-92 victory to spoil Chandler Parsons' return in a chippy game, ending the Mavs six-game winning streak. James Harden led the Rockets with 32 points, eight rebounds, and four assists. Monta Ellis led the Maverick charge with 17 points.
The game started off in an old fashion Western Conference shootout, in which Patrick Beverley made 4 three-pointers in the first quarter. The score was tied 29-29 after the first. The second quarter belonged to the Rockets, where Houston outscored Dallas 31-22. Houston went 13-of-25 from long distance in the first two quarters and led the Mavericks 60-51 at the break.
The third quarter was sloppy for both teams to start, especially Dallas. The Mavericks fell behind by as much as 18 in the middle of the third before a spark from Devin Harris and J.J. Barea off the bench brought them back within nine heading into the fourth. Dallas stormed into the fourth, finally regaining the lead off Devin Harris costless throws midway through the fourth. It was their first lead since leading 25-22 in the first. Then the game got a bit chippy, as Chandler Parsons committed a physical foul, stopping a Donatas Montiejunas easy dunk and erupting the Houston crowd. The foul would be called a normal personal foul, and Montiejunas would hit both costless throws. Under a minute remaining, Dallas would build a four-point lead only to see it evaporate off a Jason Terry layup and a James Harden and-one layup, where he hit a costless throw to give Houston a one-point lead. On the following inbound play for Dallas, Trevor Ariza intercepted a Monta Ellis pass and got fouled on the way up for a layup. He would hit both costless throws. Dallas had one more chance on an inbound pass to Monta Ellis, where he missed a three-point attempt, giving the Rockets a narrow victory.
Patrick Beverley left the game early in the fourth and did not return with a sore hamstring. Beverley was the key to the game for the Rockets in the first three quarters, hitting 6 threes in the game. Houston will host Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks on Monday night.
As for Dallas, they were only held to 92 points tonight, which is well below the 111 they are averaging this season. Dirk was held to 4-of-18 from the field, including 0-11 from the three-point line. The Mavericks will host the Indiana Pacers Monday night.