2015 NBA Playoffs
Western Conference Quarterfinals
#7 Dallas Mavericks at #2 Houston Rockets
Rockets Lead Best of Seven Series 1-0
Game #2 Toyota Center – Houston, Texas
Tuesday, April 21, 2015, 9:35 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
Opening Line: Houston -5 1/2
Current Line: Houston -6
Opening Total: 214
Current Total: 215 1/2
Opening Money Line: Rockets -240 / Mavericks +200
Current Money Line: Rockets -250 / Mavericks +210
Seven Houston Rockets scored in double digits in Saturday’s game one victory over the Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs. Every time Dallas would pull to within 5 or 6 points, Houston would answer with a bucket and expand the lead to 13 or 14 points. Houston would hold on for the 118-108 win.Game two is Tuesday night in Houston.
MVP candidate James Harden led the Rockets with 24 points, but 15 of those points came from the free throw line. Harden was only 4/11 from the field. Harden also added 11 assists. Terrence Jones scored 19 points and added 9 rebounds and 6 assists. Former Maverick Jason Terry scored 16 points. Corey Brewer scored 15 points off the bench including three crucial 3 pointers in the fourth quarter. Trevor Ariza scored 12 points, and added 11 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals. Dwight Howard and Josh Smith also scored in double figures.
All five Dallas starters scored in double figures as well. Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavericks with 24 points and 8 rebounds. Monta Ellis added 16 points and 4 assists. Rajon Rondo added 15 points and 5 assists. Tyson Chandler scored 11 points and added 18 rebounds. Former Rocket Chandler Parsons added 10 points and 6 rebounds after missing the last 6 games of the regular season with a lmee injury. J.J. Barea added 12 points and Amar’e Stoudemire added 10 points, both off the bench.
Houston won the Southwest Division by a game over the Memphis Grizzlies and San Antonio Spurs. It was the first division title for the Rockets since 1994 when they won the first of back-to back NBA Championships. Dallas finished fourth in the Southwest six games behind the Rockets. All five Southwest Division teams made the playoffs including the New Orleans Pelicans.
Houston is in the playoffs for the third straight season. They lost in the first round the last 2 seasons, and haven’t won a playoff series since 2009. Dallas is in the playoffs for the 14th time in the last 15 seasons, but hasn’t made it out of the first round since winning the championship in 2011.
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Dallas is coached by Rick Carlisle. The Mavericks are 36-45-2 ATS and the total is 39-43-1. Dallas was a 5.5 point underdog in game #1 and the total was 212.5. Houston is coached by Kevin McHale. The Rockets are 49-34 ATS and the total is 41-42 this season.
Dallas is outscoring teams 105-102 this season. The Mavericks are 33 in scoring but #25 in points allowed. Dallas is shooting 46.3% from the field and 35.2% from 3 point range. The Mavericks are #5 in field goal percentage. Dallas makes 75.2% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 45% from the field and 36.4% from 3 point range. The Mavericks are #27 in three point defense. Dallas averages 42.3 rebounds per game and opponents average 46.1 per game. The Mavericks are #23 or worse in both categories. Dallas averages 22.5 assists, 8.1 steals and 4.5 blocks per game.
Monta Ellis averages 18.9 points, 2.4 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.9 steals per game. Dirk Nowitzki averages 17.3 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. Chandler Parsons averages 15.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.1 steals per game. He is questionable with a knee injury. Amar’e Stoudemire 10.8 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. Tyson Chandler averages 10.3 points, 11.5 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.2 blocks per game. Rajon Rondo averages 9.3 points, 4.5 rebounds 6.5 assists, 1.2 steals. Devin Harris is questionable with a toe injury after missing the second half Saturday.
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Houston is outscoring teams 104-101 this season. The Rockets are #5 in scoring. Houston is shooting 44.2% from the field and 34.8% from 3 point range. The Rockets make 71.5% of their free throws and are #27 in that category. Opponents are shooting 44.4% from the field and 32.1% from 3 point range. Houston leads the league in 3 point defense. The Rockets average 43.6 rebounds per game and opponents average 43.9 per game. Houston averages 22.2 assists, 16.1 turnovers, 9.5 steals and 4.8 blocks per game.
James Harden is one of the top two MVP candidates along with Golden State’s Stephen Curry. Harden averages 27.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, 6.9 assists and 1.9 steals per game. Dwight Howard averages 15.7 points, 10.6 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.2 blocks per game. He has missed about half the season with various injuries. Trevor Ariza averages 13 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.9 blocks per game. Donatas Motiejunas is out for the season with a back injury. He averaged 12 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game. Josh Smith averages 11.8 points, 5.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.2 blocks per game. Terrance Jones averages 11.8 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. Corey Brewer averages 11.7 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.1 steals per game. Patrick Beverley averages 10.1 points, 4.2 rebounds 4.4 assists and 1.1 steals per game. He is out for the season with a broken wrist. K.J. McDaniels is out with a wrist injury.
Dallas is 18-7-2 ATS in first round games, 13-30-2 against Western Conference teams, 6-15 overall, 2-5 on two days rest, 7-18-1 after scoring 199 points or more, 3-10 in road games, 1-4 against teams with winning records and against Southwest teams, and 3-14 against teams with winning home records. The under is 4-1 in this series recently, but the over is 6-2 in the series in Houston.
Houston is 5-0 ATS in first round playoff games, 4-0 against Western Conference teams, 8-1 against teams with winning road records, 7-1 on two days rest, 5-1 against teams with winning records, and against Southwest teams, 4-1 overall, 7-2 after allowing 100 points or more, 19-7 in Tuesday games and at home, and 20-8 after scoring 100 points or more. The home team is 4-1 ATS in this series recently. The Rockets are 5-1 ATS both at home and overall against the Mavericks recently.
This should be another high scoring game. Houston had an answer every time Dallas pulled close. It isn’t an impossible notion that Dallas could steal a game on the road before the series shifts north. Still, I think the Rockets hold serve at home in a close game.