James Harden Leads Rockets To 113-105 Win Over Dallas

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James Harden¬†scored 34 points and four steals in the Houston Rockets’ 113-105 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Friday.

Harden went 11-of-17 from the floor and 4-of-8 from 3-point range for the Rockets.

Jeremy Lin added 14 points and three steals for Houston, despite turning the ball over 23 times. Dwight Howard, who had 26 rebounds on Wednesday, recorded a double-double with 13 points and 16 boards.

Dirk Nowitzki posted 22 points before fouling out for the Mavericks, while Monta Ellis donated 20 points and three steals.

The Rockets captured the lead early and then went on 18-6 run to create some more distance. Harden and Howard both tallied six points during the surge and Aaron Brooks capped it off with a 3-pointer for a 25-12 margin ending the first quarter with 38-points, 38-22 contest.

The Mavericks responded by switching to a zone defense and the Rockets shot Dallas back into contention, missing 6-of-7 from behind the arc in the second quarter. The Mavs established a deliberate pace offensively behind Nowitzki and cut the deficit to 61-50 by the break.

During the third quarter, the Mavericks used a strategy to consistently foul Howard. He went 3-of-10 in that quarter. However the Rockets maintained their lead in the second half and cruised to victory.

“We have to play better at the start of the game. Our play in the first quarter put us in such a hole that we could never get back over the hump and every minute counts in an NBA game,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. “When you fall down double digits in the first quarter, you are going to be digging out of a hole the entire night and this is too good of a team to do that against.”

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