The series finale and back end of a home-and-home set between the Southwest Division-rival Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks shouldn't fall short of scoring Wednesday night at American Airlines Center.
The Rockets and Mavericks have scored 100-plus points in each of the first three meetings this season and are known for both scoring points and giving them up. The Rockets are tied with Oklahoma City with 107.0 ppg, but are second to last in the NBA in points allowed (103.7).
Mavs star Dirk Nowitzki discussed the issues with defending Houston.
"We're missing coverages. Protect the paint better and I think we haven't been really doing a great job all season," Nowitzki said after practice. "Usually when our man-to-man was struggling we could always rely on our zone but that one isn't even good this year. We gotta make our man-to-man work and call out the coverages early and execute the coverages."
Dallas is eighth in the league with 101.0 ppg and near the basement in opposing scoring at 102.6 ppg. The Mavericks had a nine-game winning streak against Houston come to an end on Sunday in a 136-103 blowout, but still own a 13-4 record in the previous 17 meetings between the division foes. In addition, the Mavericks have won five in a row and 17 of the last 21 matchups with the Rockets in Big D.
The Mavs look to put their last loss in the rear view mirror after Houston dismantled them completely in Space City this past weekend. A 44-17 advantage by the Rockets in the third quarter opened the flood gates and sent Dallas to its fourth loss in five tries.
"This is one of those situations where you have to step up to the challenge, and we just didn't do it," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said of the third quarter.
O.J. Mayo had a team-high 18 points and Shawn Marion finished with 14 and eight rebounds. Nowitzki was held to just eight points for Dallas, which was coming off a win at Brooklyn and went 1-2 on a three-game road trip.
Despite his recent performance, Nowitzki has scored 20 or more points four times in the past six games. Dallas, which is 16-12 as the host, will start a four-game road trip Friday at Detroit.
Rockets forward Chandler Parsons had the hot hand with a career-high 32 points on 12-of-13 shooting, including a 6-of-7 clip from 3-point range. James Harden and Jeremy Lin both scored 21 points for Houston, which made 57.5 percent for the game and 14-of-34 from downtown. The Rockets lead the NBA in 3-pointers made and are eighth with a .370 percentage beyond the arc.
"Our spacing and our ball movement opened up the floor so much for me, and I just knocked down shots. When you get in a zone like that, it's one of the best feelings in the world for a basketball player," Parsons said.
Parsons became the first Rockets player to hit 92 percent of his shots in a game with at least 13 field goal attempts since Otis Thorpe posted 24 points on 12-of-13 shooting versus Minnesota back on March 31, 1990.
Omer Asik had 10 points and 10 rebounds in the win, Houston's second in a row since losing three of five contests. The Rockets, who are fourth in the league with 23.5 assists per game, finished with 30 assists and a season-high 36 fastbreak points on Sunday. They are 19-9 when scoring at least 20 fastbreak points.
Harden is fifth in the NBA with 26.2 ppg for a Houston team that is seventh in the West standings -- one game behind Golden State. The Rockets are 13-19 away from home and will begin a three-game trek Wednesday.