A pantomime without Luka Doncic
There is a rivalry in Texas between Houston and Dallas, two of the ten largest cities in the United States, but basketball is not one of the main venues. In reality, For the Rockets and Mavericks, the biggest regional rival is the San Antonio Spurs, who for some reason has spent nearly a quarter century (who would have thought that now) being one of the best players in the NBA…and ever. Interstate highways give their name to that desire: I-10 for the Rockets-Spurs and I-35 for the Mavs-Spurs rivalry. But Rockets-Mavericks? Not much, perhaps because their great competitive moments didn't overlap. However, unless it was rigged since 1980, when the Mavericks arrived in the NBA, they were not scheduled to start tonight. Because their trip is along I-45 (from Dallas to Houston) It was made with a ghost course, unrecognizable, and was ruled pre-play (122-96 in favor of the Rockets).
Good news for those who were waiting on Christmas Eve. The Rockets had lost three games in a row, so they were able to take a break and stay sharp for today's game, which is a tough one. Go back At Pelicans Stadium. They remained after this win with a score of 14-12. Eighth in the West, in which the Mavs are in seventh place (16-12). They are riding a three-game losing streak They have a game today against the Spurs and Monday against the Suns, at the end of Christmas Day. The league's strategy is to exploit the rivalry that developed between Luka Doncic and Devin Booker on that great stage of December 25…but for that Doncic must sit out Houston due to a quadriceps issue.
Kyrie Irving has been out for seven games For the first time all season, the Mavs played without either of their point guards. And on top of that, without Exum, Lively, Green and Kleber. Things looked bad…and they turned out bad. Only 96 points thanks to 36 in the fourth quarter (all garbage minutes). Disadvantages of -38 and terrible shooting streak: less than 35% overall shooting, 7/40 on threes.. “I don't know if he can play today, but if he can't, we're going to have to find some way to create shooting situations” Jason Kidd said of the absence of the Sun King, a Doncic without whom the Mavs don't have much structure or meaning.
Jaden Hardy, A Protect A second-year player who has become a cult figure for some Mavs fans. Hardy shot 3/17 (8 points) inside A streak in which only Tim Hardaway Jr. scored in double figures…and he did so with more shots (20) than points (16).. At least, after already losing everything, they put in more effort in the final stage. Inexperienced Olivier Maxence Prosper and G Leaguers AJ Lawson and Dexter Dennis. For the Mavs, it was a day to look the other way and avoid conclusions. The regular season has dates like this.
The Rockets played to their hearts content and gave up minutes. In the first quarter it was clear that the Mavs had no way to stop Alperen Sengun, a mainstay of a bigger, more clinical team in zones (66-50 points in the paint). The Turkish center ended with a score of 22 + 15 in just 25 minutes. In addition, Jabari Smith Jr. added 21+8, and Jalen Green, a player known for not stepping up when his ceiling is a star, took advantage of the third quarter to turn around his numbers and reach 17 points. There wasn't much. Ime Udoka had all of his bench players play except Boban Marjanovic despite the fans chanting his name insistently. There were minutes, the good thing about the quiet of the night for both of us Juniors Where there is a lot of promise in Houston and with whom it is now necessary to be patient: Ameen Thompson (9 + 6 and 4 assists) and Cam Whitmore (14 + 4).
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