Rockets Take Game 1 118-108
The Rockets took game one with a 118-108 home win over Dallas.
When taking Game 1 from an opponent, the Rockets are 18-4 in playoff series in franchise history.
The Rockets erupted in the first behind multiple alley-oops and blocked shots from Dwight Howard. Though Howard dealt with foul trouble most of the night, he was highly effective in limited minutes with 11 points, five rebounds and five blocks.
“It was a little frustrating, but my biggest thing was, when I’m out there on the floor, just play as hard as I can despite the fouls and not allow that to take me out of the game. I’m going to get called for some fouls sometimes. I just got to play through it, continue to block shots, continue to run the floor and continue to control the paint,” Howard said.
Houston build a quick double-digit lead in the first and former Maverick Jason Terry took no mercy on his old team with seven points and a steal in the first. Terry finished with 16 points on 4-7 three-point shooting.
“You got to understand this is the playoffs, we’re at home. We must come out and maintain a certain level of intensity. It’s my job as a point guard to set the tone for us. I do my job out front and Dwight does his behind me. With that said, we just have to continue to play with a sense of urgency on both ends of the floor,” Terry said.
The Mavericks erased what was a 15-point Houston lead in the second behind a 23-7 run to start the quarter. Houston shot 63% in the first, but that total dropped to 48% as the Rockets struggled to score.
However, the Rockets regained the lead and went up 59-55 at halftime as Trevor Ariza stuffed the box with eight points, six boards, six assists and two steals in the half. He finished with a double-double on 12 points and 11 rebounds.
“Its one thing if you’re playing very well and the other team is crushing you. But when you don’t play well and you’re making mistakes you feel you can get back in the game. I thought that the end of the second quarter when we made a three, got into halftime with a little bit of a lead. Then came out and built on that lead in the third quarter helped us out a great deal,” Kevin McHale said.
The Rockets built a seven-point lead in the third as James Harden earned his second career playoff double-double on 24 points (including 15-17 from the free throw line) and a playoff career high 11 assists.
“Everybody was protecting the basketball. Everybody was being involved. They can’t only stop just one person. They put two on the ball with me and I made the pocket passes, made the easy play. I had confidence in my teammates to make the next one and we did that,” Harden said.
Rookie Clint Capela also shined in his first career playoff game, notching eight points, six rebounds and two blocks.
“I was happy for the young fella,” Dwight Howard said. “He went out there and got a couple of dunks and a couple of blocks. He’s energy was great. I could tell he was a little tired after a couple of plays. He had one dunk down the lane where he was just gassed. After the game, I just told him to continue to play with high energy. I was proud of him”
As Dallas made a run in the fourth, Corey Brewer crushed any hope of a comeback as he exploded for 13 of his 15 points in the quarter. Nine of those 13 points came on timely threes that killed Dallas’ building momentum.
“It’s all about getting Game 1. You have to get Game 1, especially when you have the homecourt advantage. For us, it was big to come out here and get the win. Now, we’ve got to get Game 2,” Brewer said.
Game two is Tuesday night at Toyota Center.