Notebook: Rockets 136, Mavericks 103



Posted Mar 3, 2013 11:17 PM

By Matt Miller, For NBA.com

THE FACTS: Behind a scorching shooting performance from Chandler Parsons and a dominant third quarter, the Houston Rockets ended a lengthy losing streak against an in-state rival about as convincingly as anyone could have imagined. Parsons scored a career-high 32 points on 12-for-13 shooting, and the Rockets snapped a nine-game skid against the Dallas Mavericks with a 136-103 rout Sunday at Toyota Center. Jeremy Lin added 21 points and nine assists, and James Harden scored 21 and dished out seven dimes for Houston (33-28), which has won six of its last seven home games by an average of 16.0 points.

O.J. Mayo led Dallas (26-33), which has dropped four of its last five games overall and two of three on the road, with 18 points and four assists. Shawn Marion chipped in with 14 points and eight rebounds, while Dirk Nowitzki struggled mightily in the matchup with Parsons and netted only eight points on 2-for-8 shooting.

Dallas committed a plethora of turnovers and settled for low-percentage shot attempts after building an early lead, which helped Houston create a lightning-quick pace that the veteran Mavericks were unable to handle. The Rockets, who led 64-61 at halftime, buried Dallas with an avalanche of transition buckets and 3-pointers as they outscored the Mavericks 44-17 in the third quarter.

QUOTABLE: "Our spacing and our ball movement opened up the floor so much for me, and I just knocked down shots. When you get in a zone like that, it's one of the best feelings in the world for a basketball player."

-- Chandler Parsons on his career night

THE STAT: The Rockets raced their way to a season-high 36 fast-break points, compared to Dallas' 18. Houston also posted an impressive 32-10 edge in points off turnovers, marking only the fifth time this season it has allowed less than 11 points off giveaways.

TURNING POINT: The Mavericks' bench sparked a second-quarter surge by Dallas, which built a 52-43 lead with 5:56 remaining before halftime. The Rockets took control of the game from there by amping up their defensive pressure to force the Mavericks into mental mistakes. Dallas committed nine turnovers over the next 10 minutes, leading to several transition buckets for Houston during a 36-9 run that gave it a 79-61 edge with 8:11 left to play in the third.

QUOTABLE II: "This is one of those situations where you have to step up to the challenge, and we just didn't do it. ... The problem is we couldn't guard these guys. We didn't guard them, and that's got to change ..."

-- Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle on his team's third-quarter meltdown

HOT: Parsons was locked in from the opening tip, burying his first 11 shot attempts en route to his 12-for-13 performance from the floor. Parsons has netted at least 20 points in a career-best four consecutive contests, knocking down 65.0 percent (39-for-60) of his field-goal attempts during this stretch.

NOT: Nowitzki, who had averaged 21.2 points on 53.2 percent shooting and 10.4 rebounds over his previous four outings, failed to find a rhythm Sunday, shooting 2-for-8 (25.0 percent) overall. The 7-foot forward did not impact the game much on the glass, either, and finished with only four boards.

BAD MOVE: Already saddled with foul trouble after picking up three in the first half, Mayo was whistled for a cheap reach-in foul while guarding Harden less than two minutes into the third quarter. The shooting guard's absence left a void in Dallas' offense when the Rockets were threatening to pull away. The Mavericks bricked four consecutive shot attempts and committed three turnovers over their next seven possessions, allowing Houston to open up an insurmountable advantage.

GOOD MOVE: Houston coach Kevin McHale threw double-teams at Nowtizki throughout the evening, sticking with his strategy even after the Mavericks found an open man on the perimeter on several occasions during the first half. The long-range shots eventually stopped falling for Dallas, and with Mayo and Nowitzki failing to carry the load, the Mavericks' offense quickly transformed into a turnover-prone mess.

QUOTABLE III: "With this team, we're always better defensively if we're making shots. They're still at the age where their offense kind of dictates their defensive energy."

-- Kevin McHale on his club's tendency to let its offensive success dictate its defensive intensity

NOTABLE: Former Rockets star Tracy McGrady watched the game from a courtside seat. McGrady was on Houston's roster when it last defeated Dallas on Dec. 31, 2009, but he did not play due to injury. ... Harden is only two made free throws away from becoming the third Rocket in franchise history (Moses Malone, Kevin Martin) to nail at least 500 free-throw attempts in a season. ... The Rockets improved to 9-1 this season when Harden reaches at least 20 points and eight assists. ... Houston scored its first 102 points in only 34 minutes. ... The Rockets, who shot 57.5 percent overall, improved to 17-2 when they connect on at least half of their field-goal attempts. ... Houston is now 8-1 when it distributes at least 30 assists. . ... Marion tied Rod Strickland (1,616) for 25th on the NBA's all-time steals list when he recorded his only theft of the contests. ... Dallas fell to 7-22 this season when it hands out fewer assists than its opponent. ... The Mavericks are now 4-15 on the road when they commit more turnovers than their opponent.

UP NEXT: For the Mavericks, Wednesday vs. Houston, Friday @ Detroit, Sunday @ Minnesota. For the Rockets, Wednesday @ Dallas, Friday @ Golden State, Saturday @ Phoenix.