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Mavericks look to finally beat Rockets

The Dallas Mavericks face the Houston Rockets looking to lay to rest the hoodoo their Texas rivals have over them.


It also marked the first time since 2013 that the Mavericks would win back-to-back games against their Division rivals; between that last back-to-back win and this one, the record between them is 21-4. That is how dominant the Rockets have been over their Texan rivals.


These are interesting times in Texas, at least for basketball fans in Dallas.


The Mavericks are not lighting up the league like the Oklahoma City Thunder and Denver Nuggets are doing in the West; neither are they confirming pre-season predictions like Toronto Raptors are doing in the East, and the Los Angeles Lakers are in the West. In fact, the Mavericks are confounding pre-season predictions.

The Mavericks are surpassing expectations; maybe not in terms of how they will play or who the stars of the new-look Mavericks will be, but as far as Texas, the Southwest Division and even the league is concerned, the Mavericks have been a major shock to the system.

With more than a quarter of regular season games played, the Mavericks are sitting in the eighth playoff spot in the West. To be clear; the quickly shifting sands of the Western Conference demands that nothing be taken for granted. The difference between the 8th positioned, 14-11 Mavericks and the 13-14, 12th positioned San Antonio Spurs is just two games; with the Houston Rockets, who are just three games behind the Mavericks with an 11-14 record sitting second to last place in the West.

Now, this looks like normal conversation. Until you read it again; the Spurs and the Rockets are sitting below the Mavericks in the Southwest and the Western Conference. The last time the Mavericks finished above both teams in the Southwest and the West standings was in the 2009/10 season, and the only team that was better than the Mavericks in the West that year were the Lakers. In 2010/11, the Mavericks finished above the Rockets but were second in the Southwest behind San Antonio; same as in 2011/12 and 2015/16. Simply put, the Mavericks sometimes rise above either teams at one time or the other, but a situation where the Mavericks are the dominant team in Texas is almost an aberration… at least it has been for the last eight years.


When the Dallas Mavericks defeated the Houston Rockets 107-104 early on Sunday, it was the second win for the Mavericks over the Rockets this season, following a 128-108 victory late in November. That November win snapped a nine-game Houston win-streak dating back to 2016. It also marked the first time since 2013 that the Mavericks would win back-to-back games against their Division rivals; between that last back-to-back win and this one, the record between them is 21-4.


That is how dominant the Rockets have been over their Texan rivals. And with the Rockets breaking all sorts of franchise and league records last season, nobody expected the Mavericks to be sitting above them at any point this season. But here we are. The second win over the Rockets marked the ninth straight home win for the Mavericks; they have since moved the mark to 10 straight wins, and 12 in all.


However, the Mavericks have dropped the first of their four-game series to the Spurs this season; a 113-108 overtime loss at the AT&T Center in San Antonio that was part of a horrible, early season six-game slip that dropped the Mavericks from 2-1 to a depressing 2-7. The Mavericks have been 12-4 since then.

Luka Doncic and DeAndre Jordan have lived up to the pre-season predictions on what they will bring to the Mavericks; with Doncic slightly surpassing expectations. Harrison Barnes, who led Dallas in scoring last season, is just warming up, and Maxi Kleber is developing into a premier shot-blocker coming off the bench.

The Mavericks are getting better, they are currently the best team in Texas, and we wait to see if they will maintain the form, and get back into the playoffs.


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