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Downed Late in 'Big D'
Costly turnover, missed shots help Mavericks pull away late 107-98 in Dallas
By Clutch

If for no other reason than that double-team he busted in the second quarter where he spun through two guys and threw down a one-handed jam that made you think it was Hakeem Olajuwon's taller Chinese cousin.
The Rockets bench has been brilliant through the first three games, but not tonight -- Bonzi Wells, Mike James and Luis Scola combined to shoot just 6-24 from the floor.
Well, atleast 80 wins is still possible.

The Rockets put their new strength to a big test Monday night. Tracy McGrady and company travelled to Dallas to face a club that won 67 regular season games last year, but the Mavs busted open a see-saw affair very late in the fourth to hand Houston it's first loss of the season, 107-98.

The Rockets looked pretty damn good for about 44 minutes and likely would have won this game had they not shot so poorly ... or played any semblance of defense on Jason Terry.

Terry lit up the Rockets for 31 points and 5 assists (no turnovers), hitting 11-17 shots from the floor.

The Rockets version of Terry, Mike James, was not good in this one. James hit just 4-13 from the floor and whiffed on all 5 of his three-point attempts. Rafer Alston wasn't much better, going 3-8 from the field.

Combined? The Rockets' point guards managed one assist. Yikes.

It wasn't just these guys that were struggling. T-Mac hoisted 31 shots, making just 12 (though he had 8 dimes). Bonzi Wells was 1-7 from the floor and Luis Scola was 1-4.

In fact, the only guy hitting a decent clip was Yao Ming (21 points, 11 boards), who knocked down 9-12 shots and played a lot of minutes (38).

Overall though I didn't feel too bad about this loss. Remember, the Rockets have a new coach and personnel ... the Mavs are returning the same sets and guys from a championship-caliber team. The Rockets will get more comfortable and stronger in the offense that Rick Adelman wants to run.

Not to mention, Houston was right there with these guys in their place, and when you look at the players who were subpar on the offensive end (T-Mac, Bonzi, James, Scola) it gives you hope that the Rockets are among the elite.

We'll see as another huge test comes on the tail end of a back-to-back: Tuesday night at home against the champion Spurs.

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