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Houston Rockets breeze by Dallas Mavericks, remain unbeaten

By The Sports Xchange
Houston Rockets breeze by Dallas Mavericks, remain unbeaten
James Harden and the Houston Rockets defeated the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday to remain unbeaten. Photo by Rolex dela Pena/EPA

HOUSTON -- James Harden scored a season-high 29 points, Eric Gordon chipped in 18 points and the Houston Rockets defeated the Dallas Mavericks 107-91 on Saturday at the Toyota Center.

This is the 11th time the Rockets have started a season 3-0. The last time was in 2014-2015 when Houston started 6-0.

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With four players out -- including rookie guard Dennis Smith Jr. -- for their first meeting against divisional rival Houston, the Mavericks were undermanned from the beginning.

Houston jumped out to the early lead, utilizing a 28-12 run to lead 33-20 at the end of the first quarter.

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Harden was on target shooting 9 of 15 from the field for 26 points in the first half alone. He had scored 27 points total in each of the first two games.

J.J. Barea was the lone spark offensively for the Mavericks (0-3) in the first half. Barea scored 15 in the opening half and finished with a season-high 19 points.

Yogi Ferrell tied Barea for a team-high with 19 points.

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Dirk Nowitzki was held to a season-low two points on 1-of-8 shooting. It was the fewest points for Nowitzki in a game since scoring one against Memphis on February 29, 2012.

The 23-point lead at the half, 62-39, marked the biggest halftime lead for the Rockets this season.

The Mavericks were held to just 34.9 field-goal percentage in the first half and finished shooting 36.9 percent for the game.

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Houston continued its onslaught in the second half. With Harden's sixth 3-pointer of the game with just seconds remaining in the third quarter, he had his 29 points and seven rebounds in the first three quarters. He played just 31 minutes.

Nene also recorded a season-best 14 points. Clint Capela chipped in 13 points. The Rockets have had four or more players in double digits in scoring in every win this season.

With the game in hand, the Rockets were able to rotate in most of their reserve players, including Zhou Qi, who made his NBA debut in the fourth quarter. Zhou spent the past three seasons playing for Xinjiang Flying Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association.

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NOTES: The Rockets have won six of their past seven home openers ... Houston has scored more than 100 points in all three games this season ... Mavericks G Dennis Smith Jr. missed his second straight game with a left knee injury ... Rockets F/C Tarik Black made his season debut for the Rockets on Saturday after being held out the first two games due to a coach's decision. Black was signed as a free agent from the Los Angeles Lakers in the offseason ... Mavericks G J.J Barea already has two 10-plus point performances this season. Last year Barea had 19 games the entire season ... Rockets G James Harden has hit four or more three-pointers in three straight games. Harden did that 37 times last season.

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