Aiming to solidify their No. 7 seed in the Western Conference, the Houston Rockets meet the Dallas Mavericks Wednesday night at American Airlines Center.
The final game of a home-and-home set, Houston looks to repeat their dominating 136-103 victory over Dallas last Sunday.
With the NBA’s No. 1 ranked offense, forward Chandler Parsons pumped in 32 points on 12-for-13 shooting, while Jeremy Lin and James Harden each scored 21 points, with Harden going 4-for-8 from three.
After a relatively tight first half, the Rockets put up a 44-17 third quarter, and Dallas could never get back on track.
Houston forced 18 Maverick turnovers, and out-rebounded Dallas 45-30, while running its high-octane, team-oriented offense with 30 assists on the night.
Now in his second season, Parsons was rewarded with more minutes by head coach Kevin McHale, and has responded with 15.1 points and 5.5 rebounds on 48 percent shooting this season, all better numbers than his rookie year.
The Mavericks O.J. Mayo scored a team-high 18 points, while Dirk Nowitzki struggled from the field, scoring eight points in 27 minutes.
Dallas is now 5.5 games out of the playoffs, and has gone 3-3 since the All-Star break. The last time the Mavericks missed the playoffs was 2000, when Nowitzki was just in his second year.
Most of Dallas's troubles can be pinpointed to a lackadaisical defense. Ranked 27th overall in points allowed, the Mavericks have surrendered the second most free throws in the league, giving the impression of an older team that can’t keep quicker players away from the basket.
The game tips-off at 8:30 p.m. eastern time and will be broadcast by CSN Houston and Fox Sports Southwest, or you can watch a live online stream by purchasing NBA League Pass Broadband here.
Betting Odds: Dallas is favored by 3 points
Over/Under: 222.5 points
Prediction: Lin and Harden can attack the Mavericks perimeter, but Houston will have trouble defending Nowitzki. Look for Dirk to take over the second half in a close Dallas victory.
Predicted Score: Dallas 104, Houston 98