NBA regular season

Rockets easily dispatch shorthanded Mavericks as Doncic joins injury list


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Rockets easily dispatch shorthanded Mavericks as Doncic joins injury list

ATTACK. Houston Rockets center Alperen Sengun (28) dribbles against Dallas Mavericks forward Markieff Morris (88) in the second quarter at Toyota Center.

Thomas Shea/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

The Rockets clinch their 12th win in 14 games at home at the expense of the Mavericks, who add Luka Doncic to their laundry list of injured regulars

Alperen Sengun produced his eighth double-double of the season and the host Houston Rockets took full advantage of a shorthanded Dallas Mavericks roster, rolling to a 122-96 win on Friday, December 22 (Saturday, December 23, Manila time).

Sengun posted 20 points and 10 rebounds in the first half and needed only 25 minutes overall to pair 22 points with 15 rebounds. Jabari Smith Jr. added 21 points and 8 boards for the Rockets, who led by as many as 38 points en route to their 12th victory in 14 games at Toyota Center.

The Mavericks added Luka Doncic (quad) to their laundry list of injured regulars, a group that also included Kyrie Irving (heel), Dereck Lively II (ankle), and Dante Exum (leg contusion). Absent multiple rotation players, the Mavericks shot 27.8% in the first half, missing 21 of 24 from three-point range.

All five starters scored in double figures for Houston, with Jalen Green posting 17 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals, while Fred VanVleet and Dillon Brooks each chipped in 10 points.

Tim Hardaway Jr. was the lone starter from Dallas’ makeshift starting lineup to reach double figures, scoring 16 points but missing 14 of 20 shots. The Mavericks shot 34.7% overall.

Houston established a double-digit lead when VanVleet scored at the 4:16 mark of the opening period, before the Mavericks clawed back to within 18-17 with 48 seconds left in the first.

But the Rockets followed with a 19-5 burst featuring a Sengun reverse layup and a Smith 14-footer, and Sengun later added a three-pointer that extended the lead to 54-36. It came after Rockets reserve guard Aaron Holiday answered a Hardaway three-pointer with one of his own.

Sengun and Smith combined for 21 points on 6-of-7 shooting in the second quarter as Houston carried a 56-39 lead into the break. Hardaway and Jaden Hardy sank late treys to keep the Mavericks from converting only one shot from long range in the half.

VanVleet and Green combined for three three-pointers as Houston opened the third quarter with a 15-5 run, and the Rockets extended that rally to 29-8 while building an 85-47 lead on a reverse layup by Brooks with 4:43 left in the third. –

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