NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, November 1st
(All times Eastern)
Dallas Mavericks (1-0) at Houston Rockets (1-0), 8 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - Dwight Howard's first regular-season game as a member of
the Houston Rockets was a smash success.
Will game two be much of the same when his Rockets host the Dallas Mavericks
Friday night in a Texas tussle?
Howard was sensational in Wednesday's season-opener against the Charlotte
Bobcats, scoring 17 points and matching a career-high with 26 rebounds. The
Rockets won 96-83 and Howard left his teammates impressed.
"He was amazing. Running the floor, obviously, rebounding the basketball and
taking all my rebounds, finishing the basketball, you know, doing what he
does." said James Harden. "He's a game changer."
That may be an understatement.
However, the free-running Rockets were grounded a bit. The ball didn't move as
much as head coach Kevin McHale would've liked, but he had to be happy with
the pairing of Howard and Omer Asik.
Last season, Asik was a revelation, but he became unhappy when Houston signed
Howard and demanded a trade. The Rockets said no, and Asik started alongside
Howard and had four points and 14 rebounds of his own.
"For our team to get out and run we've got to clean the boards and not give
teams second chances," Howard explained. "We just have to try to hold them to
one shot every possession and that way we can get out and run."
Harden led the way with 21 points, although he hurt his back and neck during
the contest. Francisco Garcia chipped in 19 points off the bench and Jeremy
Lin, who lost his starting job to Patrick Beverley, scored 16. (Lin played
30:56 to just 10:23 for Beverley.)
The Mavericks earned a solid 118-109 home win over the Atlanta Hawks on
Monta Ellis, Dallas' big splash in free agency this offseason, had 32 points
on 11-for-17 shooting and eight assists.
"I just took what the defense gave me," said Ellis. "If they sagged off, I
took one or two dribbles and pulled up. If they stayed with me, then I got
past them, attacked the basket and got to the free-throw line. When they
closed in I was able to find shooters."
Dirk Nowitzki was solid as always with 24 points, followed by 21 from Vince
Carter off the bench. Shawn Marion was the only other Dallas player in double
figures with 12 points.
Several of the new additions besides Ellis had big impacts without big stat
sheets. Jose Calderon only scored five points, but he dished out 11 assists.
Samuel Dalembert netted four points, but grabbed nine rebounds. DeJuan Blair
and Wayne Ellington combined for 15 points and eight boards on the second
The Mavericks have won 10 of their last 11 against the Rockets, including four
of five in Houston.
11/01 10:42:02 ET