Preview: Mavericks at Rockets
James Harden will try to push his streak of 30-point games to 30 in a row when he leads the Houston Rockets into a home matchup with the Dallas Mavericks on Monday. Harden continued his phenomenal scoring run with 42 points in Saturday’s 117-112 loss to Oklahoma City, leaving him two 30-point games away from tying Wilt Chamberlain for the second-longest such streak in NBA history.
The 29-year-old Harden is averaging exactly 30 points in two meetings with the Mavericks this season, but both of them were losses and the team knows it sometimes needs more than his scoring punch to get by. “We have to be consistent for four quarters,” Harden told reporters Saturday after his team fell to 19-9 at home. “It’s pretty simple.” Dallas has taken six of its last nine games after a furious rally gave it a 102-101 win over Portland at home Sunday. Luka Doncic scored 28 points, Tim Hardaway Jr. added 24 and the Mavericks held the Trail Blazers to just nine fourth-quarter points to finish 2-1 on their three-game homestand.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBATV, FS Southwest (Dallas), AT&T SportsNet Southwest (Houston)
ABOUT THE MAVERICKS (26-29): Doncic played the entire fourth quarter Sunday and scored 13 points while helping Dallas keep Portland from putting up a single point for nearly seven minutes during one stretch. “Luka was great in the fourth,” coach Rick Carlisle told the media of his star rookie. “Not only did he score and make plays but he had a lot of big rebounds down the stretch. I don’t normally play him a whole quarter but when we began to make the push early in the fourth it was just one of these times that he was going to have to finish if you’re going to have a chance.” Carlisle also gave credit to Hardaway Jr., who had a total of 24 points on 10-of-28 shooting through his first two games with Dallas following last week’s blockbuster trade with the New York Knicks.
ABOUT THE ROCKETS (32-23): While Harden piles up the milestones, newcomer Kenneth Faried is quietly working on an impressive streak of his own with four straight double-doubles. He shot 8-of-11 from the floor in the loss to the Thunder and is hitting 63 percent of his shots in 10 games since joining Houston last month. Point guard Chris Paul seems to be rounding into shape roughly two weeks after returning from a hamstring strain and fell an assist shy of a triple-double against Oklahoma City.
1. Doncic was one of six Mavericks in double figures with 21 points in a 107-104 win over Houston in the last meeting.
2. Harden averages 7.8 assists but has a total of only two over his last two games.
3. Mavericks PF Dwight Powell has hit 50 percent of his shots or better in nine straight games.