Despite harboring in the blue shade of an ignoble loss composed of drama, stranger-than-fiction officiating calls, feckless offensive plays, and weak defense, it was another odd realization that stood out more than ever before: The Houston Rockets, in all their flopping glory, are officially the arch nemeses of the Dallas Mavericks.
During the second quarter of Saturday night’s game at the Verizon Center in Houston, whatever was left of James Harden’s semblance of an aureole was completely shredded. After he collided with Mavericks center Tyson Chandler on a drive to the basket, Harden landed hard out of bounds. Chandler leaned over him, checking to see if he had injured the man in anyway, and after resting assured that he had not, straightened himself out and patted the ascending Harden on the shoulder as a sign of camaraderie. Harden responded by blatantly shoving Chandler in the back while officials responded by handing out technicals to both the clambering Harden AND to Chandler. Wait, what the hell?
Up until that point, nothing appeared to be going Dallas’ way. Their offense had gone surprisingly cold as their major players (consisting of Monta Ellis, Dirk Nowitzki, and Chandler Parsons) couldn’t nail down an accurate basket from the three-point line, and even appeared to be allergic to the paint at some points. Their defense wasn’t able to contain the Rockets, both in the paint and from the three-point line, where they did the most damage. Plus, the city of Houston had appeared to have become immune to the handsomeness that is Chandler Parsons, and booed him every time he touched the ball (Parsons left Houston for Dallas after the Rockets decided not to match his contract. I repeat, after Houston decided not to match his contract. So why the boos, people?). Both Jameer Nelson and Tyson attempted to keep the Mavs’ offense afloat in the first quarter, while Brandan Wright entered off the bench to lend a very helping hand during the second. Despite the power that is Wright, the boys in blue couldn’t contain Houston, and seemed to watch helplessly as Patrick Beverley and former Maverick Jason Terry knocked in triple after triple. The Rockets headed into the intermission leading 60-51.
It was much of the same for the final two quarters game for the Mavericks, including the animosity between the two teams as Ellis and Beverley exchanged some heated words nose-to-nose. But J.J. Barea, after mulling around the first three quarters, came alive in the opening of the fourth by completing a three-point play during a Dallas 10-4 run. Devin Harris, who had been out with a sore leg for the past couple of games, helped out Wright for a slam and it suddenly was a one-point game with 6:31 left on the clock. Wright and Barea led the Mavs on a stunning 13-0 run and pulled ahead of the Rockets 89-86 with less than two minutes to go.
As it turns out, Harden and Terry weren’t about to let the Mavericks, who wished to push their winning streak to seven, win in their house. Terry quickly scored on a layup while Harden made a three-point play over Parsons in order to take the lead with 28.2 seconds left. Because of the coolness of their offense, the Mavericks couldn’t close and ended up losing to Houston 95-92.
The Mavericks move on to play the Indiana Pacers at home on Monday evening.