Mad Mike’s blast fires up Rockets
The Houston Rockets had a double-digit lead in the third quarter against the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday, but after getting careless and having three turnovers in a row, Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni had seen enough.
“Coach went off a little bit,” Trevor Ariza said. “I think that was the turning point for us to get our head in the game and for us to start playing the way we normally play.”
Soon after that, Ariza — who finished with 17 points — made three straight 3-pointers to pad the lead and the Rockets beat the Mavericks 109-87 for their sixth straight win.
“They turned it on when they needed to and then as a coach you kind of feel silly sometimes ... (but) you just try to caution them because things happen and they’re a good 3-point shooting team, they get hot,” D’Antoni said.
James Harden had 18 points, 16 assists and nine rebounds and Eric Gordon added 18 points to give Houston its first sixgame winning streak since Oct. 28-Nov. 6, 2014.
Gordon’s 3-pointer extended Houston’s lead to 16 in the fourth quarter before Harrison Barnes hit a basket on the other end.
Montrezl Harrell then made an off-balance layup as he was fouled and crashed to the court. He made the free throw to leave Houston up 92-75.
Wesley Matthews made a 3 with about six minutes left to get the Mavericks within 12. But Patrick Beverley, who scored all of his 15 points in the fourth quarter, hit 3s on the next two possessions to push Houston’s lead to 100-82.
Matthews scored 26 points to lead the Mavericks and Barnes finished with 20.
“When you get off to a bad start on the road, it just makes it harder,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. “We hung in and kept it within 10 or 11 a lot of the game, but it was hard getting over the hump.”
A layup by Seth Curry cut Houston’s lead to nine points midway through the third quarter. That’s when Ariza got hot, making 3-pointers on three straight possessions to power a 9-4 run that pushed
lead early, led 61-38 at halftime and kept building in the third quarter.
Golden State ended a fourgame winning streak. The Warriors had won 16 of 17, the lone loss in the stretch coming 132127 in double overtime to Houston on Dec 1.
Kerr benched his starters with 10 minutes left and Memphis leading 93-65.
It was just one of those rare nights for Golden State, which entered with the league’s best record at 20-3. The Warriors had a season low in points, a season high in turnovers (23) and were close to their season low in shooting statistics (44.2 percent).
Golden State’s 38 first-half points were its fewest in any half this season.
“We weren’t on the same page. We were trying to force too many things,” Thompson said, adding that the Grizzlies “definitely took us out of our rhythm early, and we let that affect us on the offensive end and the defensive end.”
The lead ballooned to 68-38 when Memphis scored the first seven points of the second half, and the Grizzlies held an 87-65 lead after three quarters.
Harrison Barnes drives past Houston Rockets guard James Harden during the first half of their NBA game on Saturday. Rockets won 109-87
Houston’s lead to 75-61.
“It was a drag, it was dull and we couldn’t find energy,” Harden said. “But Trevor made some big shots, got us going and pushed the lead up going to the fourth quarter.”
Gordon and Sam Dekker added 3-pointers after that to leave the Rockets up 86-69 entering the fourth quarter.
Ariza made four 3s to move past Shane Battier for fourth on Houston’s all-time 3-pointer list with 579.
Harden’s 16 assists were his most since he had 17 in Houston’s season opener.
Moments after the fight ended, promoter Eddie Hearn stepped into the ring to announce an April 29 bout against Ukrainian Klitschko at London’s Wembley Stadium for the “unified heavyweight championship of the world”.
That can be taken as hyperbole, much as Hearn’s assertion that it would be the “biggest fight in British boxing history”, with New Zealander Joseph Parker the newlycrowned WBO champion and American Wilder still holding the WBC belt.
Britain’s Tyson Fury, who beat Klitschko in November 2015, vacated the WBA and WBO belts in October after having his license suspended pending an investigation of anti-doping and medical issues.
Fury was already stripped of the IBF belt for not fighting a mandatory challenger.
“We move on to a bigger arena, more people can view it. This is the step up people have wanted. Klitschko wants his belts back, may the best man win,” said Joshua after his second defense.
Klitschko, who was watching ringside at the Manchester Arena, stepped through the ropes for some early eyeballing.
“He is the best man in the division and I believe this excitement speaks for itself. This is what the fans want and this fight must happen,” said the 40-year-old.
“He was clear, clean and won by knockout and, as his next opponent, it was good I was here to observe it and make my notes.”
The WBA last month officially sanctioned the match between the two fighters for the vacant title.
Dallas Mavericks forward