Rockets win 120-104

3-pointers from Rockets versus Mavericks

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The Houston Rockets hosted the Dallas Mavericks Monday night looking to notch their first win of the season series after dropping the previous two. The Rockets leaned on the 3-point shot as they have all season to run away with lead early and held on throughout to secure the blowout victory. Houston remains first in the Southwest Division and fifth in the Western Conference.

Supporting cast

Monday night proved that with their continuously improving health and depth the Rockets are growing tougher and tougher to beat as the season wears on. While favoring a tweaked shoulder from Saturday's game, James Harden remained effective by distributing around the arc. His teammates made the most of their opportunities, nailing 16 3-pointers en route to the 16-point victory. Houston finished with big nights from Gerald Green (19 points), Eric Gordon (18 points), Chris Paul (17 points), and Kenneth Faried (17 points).

Streak continued

While the game itself lacked drama, the subplot of Harden's consecutive 30+ point game streak was anything but. It was apparent throughout the night that The Beard was far less interested in the streak as he was the win and it showed through his 7 assists. It wasn't until late in the game when the game was all but decided that Harden chose to keep the streak alive. With less than a minute left, he buried a three to continue the streak, pulling him within one game of second place for the longest such streak in NBA history.

CP3 passes the Glove

Chris Paul turned in a promising 17 point, 11 assist night along with a 5-10 performance from beyond the arc. In doing so, he passed Gary Payton for eighth all time on the NBA assist leaderboard. Paul has looked much more like last season's version of himself in the past two games, which will prove pivotal to any run the Rockets may go on after the all-star break.

Rockets Player of the Game

James Harden: 31 points, 7 assists, 8 rebounds, 5 steals

Mavericks Player of the Game

Luka Doncic: 21 points, 8 assists, 10 rebounds

Last Shot

As the dust settles and the buyout market picture sharpens into focus, one name to keep an eye on is Markieff Morris. Having been bought out by the Pelicans after being traded to from the Wizards, the 6' 10" power forward is expected to choose a new team sometime this week. The Rockets, Lakers, and Raptors have each expressed interest. Morris is a versatile big that brings both range and defense that could help spell starting forward PJ Tucker, as well as space the floor for easier driving attempts for Harden, Paul, and Gordon.

Up next:

The Rockets travel to Minnesota to take on the Timberwolves on Wednesday at 7 p.m. central.

Breaking down the loss

How the Rockets lost their chance at the sweep

Tim Warren/Getty Images

Monday night the Houston Rockets took on the Utah Jazz with every intention of completing the sweep against their first round opponent. The Jazz had other plans, however, and despite a third quarter run by the Rockets to retake the lead, it was the Jazz who would ultimately battle back and take game four. Utah's hopes remain alive in the 2019 playoffs, yet in spite of their victory they still trail Houston three games to one.

Out muscled

The Rockets came out flat from the get go and that tempo seemed to carry with them throughout the match up. They were out-assisted 14-24, out-rebounded 48-62 (16 of which were offensive), and brutalized in points in the paint, 22-52. It was a lackluster effort, and yet the Rockets remained competitive until the final seconds.

Donovan Mitchell Explodes

Despite poor play all around the Rockets were still hanging around late into the fourth. Their chances of a come from behind victory were quickly dashed when 2nd year guard Donovan Mitchell turned on the jets. Mitchell fired 6-12 for 19 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter alone, including two back to back three-pointers to put the game away late. Mitchell's outburst was perfectly timed and integral in staving off Houston's comeback.

No backup

James Harden shook off his unusual game three performance with a solid 30 point outing, matched closely by 23 points from Chris Paul. Aside from them, however, Houston received little assistance from their supporting cast. The Rockets bench fired a collective 2-16 and accounted for 5 points. The Jazz bench in contrast went 9-22 for 28 points. Harden and Paul can do whatever they want on the court, but if this is the support they can expect moving forward, Houston won't last too much longer this postseason. It's highly unlikely the bench remains that ineffective moving forward, but it's worth keeping an eye on.

Rockets player of the game

Chris Paul: 23 points, 7 assists, 8 rebounds, 5 steals, 2 blocks

Jazz player of the game

Donovan Mitchell: 31 points, 4 assists, 7 rebounds

Next up

The Rockets return to Houston for game 5 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals on Wednesday at 7:00 pm, central.

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