Things were looking a little bleak for the Houston Rockets through the first half of this matchup. Particularly in the first quarter when a team that looked nothing like an NBA defending champion gave in to the Rockets’ pressure and fell behind 16 points in the first 12 minutes of basketball. Now, we really need to emphasize that the Houston Rockets, albeit their 27-24 record for the season, were playing with a short handed and a little bit worn lineup. The Rockets had played three consecutive games, including one that took an overtime effort to defeat the Sacramento Kings, and at the end, that extra effort took a high toll on the team. The Rockets leaded all the way but had no answers to a series of plays by the Mavericks Jason Terry. Scoring seven consecutive points in less than a minute, Terry got the home team rolling and with enough momentum to take the lead and never look back.
But he wasn’t the only other playing contributing from the bench. Rodrigue Beaubois chipped in with 14 points and 5 assists, Brandan Wright had 13 points and 7 rebounds and even Lamar Odom finally gave some signs that deep underneath he is still the talented player that once kept the Lakers defense going. In what could be perhaps his best performance yet with the Dallas Mavericks, and yet very far away from what he’s full potential could give, Odom finished the night 9 points and 4 rebounds. Perhaps the fewer boos he got from his own fans was quite a motivational boost for the Maverick Power Forward.
But it was all going to change in the third quarter. The Mavericks needed to react. As their head coach put it: “We got off to a very poor start,” Rick Carlisle said. “Odom, Terry, Wright, all of those guys that came in, Beaubouis had a very impact game. All of those guys did, and they were the difference.” And the difference came via Jason Terry. He scored 7 of his 12 points of the night in a one-minute stretch that gave the Mavericks a 21-6 run that finally put them ahead in the scoreboard. Odom, on the other hand, had a 4 of 5 shooting performance, including a driving wraparound layup during that third-quarter run that drew a huge cheer from the crowd. A big change considering how much negative attention he’s been getting from his won crowd. As if that was not enough, Odom also had four rebounds, three assists, a steal, a block and no turnovers in his 23 minutes. That’s one heck of an improvement considering he’s most recent numbers.
Dirk Nowitzki finished the night with 21 points despite his aim been a little off. It is unusual to see Das Dirk in a 5 of 17 night from the field. But the love was certainly spread around for this game as Nowitzki was the only Maverick’s starter who scored in double figures. He made 11 of 12 free throws. A good record considering that 10 of the attempts came before halftime. The Mavericks are now going to face the Miami Heat in what should be one heck of a game on Thursday. The Mavs defeated the Heat in last year’s finals, but they dropped their first matchup this season. It’s time to get even.