Gordon, Paul lead Harden-less Rockets past Mavericks 105-82

ABS-CBN Sports on Mar 12, 2018 09:42 AM
Gordon, Paul lead Harden-less Rockets past Mavericks 105-82
Dallas Mavericks guard J.J. Barea, left, defends Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon, right, in the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, March 11, 2018 in Dallas. (AP Photo/ Richard W. Rodriguez)

By Dave Jackson, Associated Press

DALLAS (AP) — Eric Gordon scored 26 points and Chris Paul had 24 points and 12 assists as the Houston Rockets, playing without James Harden, beat the Dallas Mavericks 105-82 on Sunday night (Monday, PHL time).

The Rockets rested Harden because of a sore left knee, but had plenty of three-point shooting even without their MVP candidate.

Houston, which had its 17-game win streak snapped Friday (Saturday, PHL time) in Toronto, broke the game open in the third quarter by hitting their first six three's of the period amid a 22-10 run. The Rockets finished 17-for-45 from beyond the arc.

Paul either scored or assisted on the first 20 points of the quarter and finished the quarter with 12 points and five assists as Houston outscored Dallas 32-16.

The Rockets moved 1.5 games ahead of Golden State for the best record in the NBA after the Warriors lost to Minnesota earlier Sunday (Monday, PHL time). Houston also holds the tiebreaker on Golden State should the teams finish with identical records.

Houston swept the four-game season series from the Mavericks for the second year in a row. The Mavericks' last win over the Rockets came in the final week of the 2015-16 season, the last time Dallas made the playoffs and the last time Houston did not.

Dwight Powell led the Mavericks with 20 points, one short of his career high, on 9-of-11 shooting. Harrison Barnes added 14.

Houston went on an early 14-0 run behind eight points from Gordon to go up 17-3. The Mavericks came back, taking their first lead at 38-37 on Smith's lay-up with 4:31 left in the second quarter.

Dallas led by six with two minutes left in the half, but the Rockets scored eight of the last nine points to go up 48-47 at the break.

TIP-INS

Rockets: Coach Mike D'Antoni said Harden should be available Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) against San Antonio. The Rockets are 5-3 without him in the lineup. ... Houston used its 13th different starting lineup of the year. ... D'Antoni was on hand in nearby Frisco, Texas, to watch his alma mater Marshall, coached by his brother Dan, win the Conference USA Tournament final Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). The Thundering Herd beat Western Kentucky 67-66 for their first NCAA Tournament berth since 1987.

Mavericks: Barea assisted on nine of the Mavericks' first 10 field goals. ... Dallas signed F Jameel Warney to a 10-day contract. Warney has averaged 20 points in 40 games for the Mavericks' G-League affiliate, the Texas Legends. Warney entered in the fourth quarter and scored five points. ... Dorian Finney-Smith, who played Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) after missing 51 with a quadriceps injury, sat out Sunday (Monday, PHL time). Wesley Matthews and Salah Mejri also sat out for the Mavericks.

UP NEXT

Rockets: Host the Spurs on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) for the second half of a back-to-back.

Mavericks: Start a four-game road trip Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time) at the Knicks. Dallas plays 10 of its final 15 on the road.

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