NBA Basketball

Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Dallas 20 19 19 33 91
Houston 33 29 30 15 107
5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST4:00 UAE (+1)02:0020:00 ET7:00 PM CTNaN:� , October 21, 2017
Toyota Center, Houston, Texas  Attendance: 18,055

Rockets breeze past Mavericks in home opener

(Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images)

(TSX / STATS) -- HOUSTON -- Beside the injury to Chris Paul, everything has gone right for the Houston Rockets to start this season.

The impressive start continued as James Harden scored a season-high 29 points, Eric Gordon chipped in 18 and the Houston Rockets defeated the Dallas Mavericks 107-91 in their home opener at the Toyota Center on Saturday.

"I like it. Obviously I got to like it," Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni said about the start. "Nothing wrong with it in the sense of I think we're trying to build a good defensive base. We're trying to understand where we're offensively. I wish Chris (Paul) would be here, so we can keep getting better."

This is the 11th time the Rockets have started a season 3-0. The last was in 2014-15, when Houston started 6-0.

With four players out -- including rookie guard Dennis Smith Jr. -- for their first meeting against divisional rival Houston, the Mavericks (0-3) 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.

"I think our mindset is getting better no matter who we play," Harden said. "From the beginning of the game we were locked in, and offensively, we made shots. That's going to be our blueprint, defensive stops."

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

J.J. Barea was the lone spark offensively for the Mavericks in the first half, scoring 15 points. He finished with a season-high 19.

"We knew it was going to be tough," Barea said about the start of the season. "We had bad luck early ... This is the NBA, this is a long season and you have to fight through it. You have to stay together and take it one day at a time. Right now we have to stay together and find a way to get out of this start."

Yogi Ferrell also scored 19 points for Dallas.

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 Feb. 29, 2012.

The 62-39 halftime lead marked the biggest halftime lead for the Rockets this season.

"We just have to keep it rolling, and the most important thing is that we have to take advantage of all these (games) at home" Gordon said. "We've got to win at home, and we will see how the season goes. We want to have a great year."

The Mavericks were held to 34.9 percent shooting from the field in the first half and 36.9 percent for the game.

The larger issue for Dallas was ineffectively crashing the boards for a third straight game. Dallas has been outrebounded by Atlanta, Sacramentp and Houston.

"There's no excuse -- we just have to go get the ball," the Mavericks' Wesley Matthews said. "Simple and plain we have to go get the ball. Nobody's walking through that door that's going to go grab us 25 rebounds a night. Collectively we have to go do it. It's as simple as that."

Another slow start to the season comes on the heels of last year, when Dallas started 0-5 en route to a 33-49 season and missing the playoffs.

"Last year is over, we can't be thinking about last year," Barea said. "Just stay positive, stay together, keep doing the right things and hopefully it will turn around."

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

Nene also recorded a season-best 14 points, going 6 of 6 from the field in only 10 minutes. Dating back to 1983-1984, it is just the third time a player has scored at least 14 points in 10 or fewer minutes without missing a shot. LaSalle Thompson for Indiana in 1993 and Stewart Granger for Cleveland in 1984 did it.

Clint Capela chipped in 13 points and 10 rebounds for his second straight double-double. It took Capela nine games last season to record his second double-double.

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.

Zhou finished with no points but three defensive rebounds in seven minutes played.

"I tried to get him a bucket man," Harden said. "He was working hard, but he's developed. He's gotten better from the summer time, and then even in (the) preseason and now.

"The more he's around us, the more he practices and the more he gets opportunities in the game, he'll be really good for us."

NOTES: The Rockets have won six of their past seven home openers. ... The Rockets have won five straight against Dallas for the first time since November 23, 1999 to December 30, 2000. ... 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 (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 3-pointers in three straight games. Harden did that 37 times last season.

Updated October 22, 2017

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