Rockets win battle of Texas
LAS VEGAS -- The Houston Rockets never trailed after the 3:51 mark of the first quarter in their 98-95 victory over the Dallas Mavericks Saturday night, but did have to stave off a valiant rally by their in-state rivals. The Rockets held a 17-point lead late in the third frame before watching Dallas fight back and pull within two with 6.3 second remaining in the final game of the 2009 NBA Summer League presented by EA Sports from the Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas. Luke Jackson had a chance to tie the game with 2.3 seconds remaining for Dallas, but his three-point attempt was no good.
Houston fell behind 3-0 following a three pointer by Dallas' Rodrigue Beaubois, but quickly notched nine of the game's next 10 points for a 9-4 lead. The Mavericks stormed back with six consecutive points over a 2:11 span to claim their last lead at 10-9. Will Conroy put his Rockets up for good at 12-10 with 6:19 remaining in the first quarter.
Although Houston never relinquished the lead the remainder of the game, Dallas tied things up on three occasions with the last coming 4:16 into the second period. The Rockets managed to outscore the Mavericks by two points in each of the first two quarters to claim a 42-38 lead heading into the half.
Chase Budinger scored 25 points in the game, but was mostly instrumental in the third, as he helped the Rockets strike out to a 71-60 lead after 30 minutes of play. Budinger chipped in 10 points, while Houston staked itself to as much as a 17-point lead.
"The last two games have been close for us, nail biters that have been right down to the end but we've been able to pull them out and that shows a lot of composure in our team and that we've been playing together and we've been getting it done towards the end of games and thats why we're 2-0," said Budinger.
Besides Budinger's output, Houston got double-figure outings by four other players. Jermaine Taylor pitched in 15, while Joey Dorsey had 13. Conroy followed closely behind with 12. Maarty Leunen closed out the quintet with 11 of his own.
Beaubois led the Mavericks in a losing effort with his 34 points, which to-date are the most scored by a player this season. Beaubois' notched 21 from behind the arc to aid his offensive effort.
Dallas got 16 from Jackson and 11 from Ahmad Nivins, as well.
Houston returns to the Cox Pavilion court at 3 p.m Sunday, July 12 vs. the Minnesota Timberwolves. Dallas will face the Phoenix Suns on Monday, July 13 at 3 p.m.