NBA: Harden, Rockets reel in Mavs, prevail in OT; Blazers rally to defeat Grizzlies

James Harden scored 49 points as the Houston Rockets erased a 14-point deficit, while the Portland Trail Blazers overwhelmed the Memphis Grizzlies in OT.

Published : Aug 01, 2020 11:49 IST

The Houston Rockets (41-24) claimed the 2019-20 NBA season series with Dallas Mavericks (40-28) two games to one by finally mustering some defensive might.
The Houston Rockets (41-24) claimed the 2019-20 NBA season series with Dallas Mavericks (40-28) two games to one by finally mustering some defensive might.

The Houston Rockets (41-24) claimed the 2019-20 NBA season series with Dallas Mavericks (40-28) two games to one by finally mustering some defensive might.

James Harden scored 49 points, Russell Westbrook added 31 points and 11 rebounds, and the Houston Rockets erased a 14-point deficit and rallied for a 153-149 overtime win over the Dallas Mavericks on Friday in The Arena at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando.

Trailing 139-137, Houston got a tip-in of a Harden missed free throw from Robert Covington with 3.3 seconds left to force overtime.

Covington, following a zero-for-eight start from behind the arc, added a 3-pointer with a minute and 22 seconds left in overtime to extend the Houston lead to 150-146.

By then, the Mavericks, who led 131-120 with seven minutes and nine seconds left in regulation, were out of gas, and when Luka Doncic fouled out via an offensive foul with 28.3 seconds left, the Rockets were headed for a win.

Doncic recorded his league-leading 15th triple-double with 28 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists while Kristaps Porzingis paced the Mavericks with 39 points and 16 rebounds. Trey Burke added 31 points on eight-of-ten 3-point shooting off the bench while Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 24 points for Dallas.


Covington finished with 13 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks. Danuel House Jr. scored 20 for Houston, making six-of-twelve 3-point attempts. Harden and Westbrook chipped in eight assists apiece.

Harden was sensational in the first quarter, pouring in 23 points on six-for-six shooting from the floor and nine-for-nine shooting at the line. He passed Hall of Fame guard Calvin Murphy (17,949 points) for second in franchise history in career scoring with a three at the two minutes, fifty one-second mark of the opening period, doing so in his 607th game (Murphy played 1,002 games in a Rockets uniform).

But the Rockets set a lackadaisical defensive tone early, allowing Dallas to shoot 60.9 percent in the first quarter, paced by Porzingis' 15 points in the period.

Despite the scoring burst from Harden, the Mavericks played Houston to a standstill in the first and surged ahead as Harden sat early in the second. When Harden re-entered the game at the nine minutes, thirty seven-second mark, the Mavericks started forcing the ball from his hands with a double team, and Harden attempted just two shots in the period.

Simultaneously, the Mavericks found complementary scoring for Porzingis, who entered the break with a team-high 21 points. Doncic closed the half with 14 points, six rebounds and five assists while Hardaway and Burke had 19 points apiece. Dallas scored a season-high 85 points in the first half and led by 10 at the break despite 43 total points from Harden and Westbrook.


CJ McCollum scored 33 points, Damian Lillard added 29 and the Portland Trail Blazers overwhelmed the Memphis Grizzlies in overtime to win, 140-135, in the first Orlando-area seeding game for both teams.

Portland (30-37) built a first-half lead then surged ahead 75-62 in the third quarter before a 22-6 Memphis run pushed the Grizzlies (32-34) ahead. The Trail Blazers played from behind for much of the fourth quarter, but remained within striking distance.

Two 3-pointers from Carmelo Anthony in the final one minute and 23 seconds gave Portland the lead, including a 124-122 advantage with 37.5 seconds remaining. Brandon Clarke, who scored 21 points for Memphis off the bench, responded with a game-tying basket.


Ja Morant led a breakaway off of a defensive rebound in the closing seconds, but got tangled with a defender and was unable to get off a shot.

Morant, the Grizzlies' leading scorer on the season at just under 18 points per game, finished with 22 points on Friday. He had only two points on 1-of-5 shooting at halftime, but came to life to lead the third-quarter run.

Morant scored seven consecutive points over one stretch, capped with a spectacular dunk off a lob from Clarke. Morant returned the favor to Clarke in the fourth quarter with one of his 11 assists, but Clarke was hit with a technical foul on the ensuing celebration.

The technical marked a critical turning point. Memphis went ahead by seven points on the dunk, but Portland began a 12-4 run over the next two minutes and 21 seconds. Neither team led by more than two points for the remainder of regulation.

That changed in overtime. McCollum knocked down a 3-pointer, followed immediately by another from Gary Trent Jr. for three of his 17 points off the bench. Trent went 4 of 5 from 3-point range for the game and McCollum went three-of-six on an afternoon in which the Trail Blazers went 13 of 30 from deep.

Jaren Jackson Jr., who matched McCollum's game-high 33 points, went six-of-fifteen from 3-point range. However, Memphis shot just 13 of 41 from outside as a team.

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