Sluggish Mavs Drop Ugly Game to Rockets

The Mavs lacked life on the second night of a back-to-back and Dallas' fifth game in seven days.
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DALLAS - The Dallas Mavericks ended their "grueling week" on Saturday with a defeat at the hands of in-state foe Houston Rockets by a score 133-108. Short-handed, the Mavs lacked life here at the AAC on the second night of a back-to-back and Dallas' fifth game in seven days. 

A sluggish start plagued the Dallas (8-8) squad, as it trailed by double-digits after only five minutes of play. Houston's DeMarcus Cousins came out strong, scoring a quick eight points. Entering the game, Cousins was shooting 26 percent from the field this season. Tonight, Cousins finished with 28 points on 9-of-15 shooting. 

By the wrap of the first quarter, the Rockets (6-9) had scored 5-of-10 on three-pointers, compared to Dallas' 1-of-3 mark from beyond the arc. 

“This has been a grueling week," said Dallas coach Rick Carlisle. "This is the culmination of it tonight."

Kristaps Porzingis was out as a precaution on the second night of the back-to-back. The Mavs continue to be without Dorian Finney-Smith, Maxi Kleber, Dwight Powell and Josh Richardson, as all remain out due to health and safety protocols. Richardson has returned to Dallas from Denver, where he had been quarantined along with Finney-Smith, Kleber and Powell.

Down 11 points at halftime, the Mavs went on a 12-4 run to start the second half, suddenly seeming awake. However, they could not slow the Rockets, who scored 104 points in the first three quarters. 

The Mavs, who never led throughout the game, are now 1-1 vs. the Rockets this season.  

On the bright side, Boban Marjanovic had a solid game for Dallas off the bench, highlighted by some beautiful dunks, finishing with a double-double. Luka Doncic lead the team with 26 points. 

On a side note, Dallas rookie Josh Green knocked down his first career three-pointer. 

A peek ahead at the schedule shows no slowdown for the Mavs. After a day off, Dallas has another run of four games in six nights. Next up, Dallas hosts the Denver Nuggets at the American Airlines Center in Dallas on Monday, Jan. 25 at 7:30 p.m. CT.