Dallas Mavericks

Rockets incensed after heated win over Mavs in season’s final meeting

Houston Rockets guard James Harden, right, had a game-high 34 points against guard Wesley Matthews and the Dallas Mavericks.
Houston Rockets guard James Harden, right, had a game-high 34 points against guard Wesley Matthews and the Dallas Mavericks. AP

Fans paid to see an NBA game Tuesday night between the Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets. Instead, they got was something resembling a WWE contest.

Nobody swung any fists, but the disjointed game included eight technical fouls, two flagrant fouls and a whole lot of cussing along with chippy and aggressive play. The Rockets wound up winning 123-107 and afterward a slew of Houston players – led by angry forward Trevor Ariza – were outside the Mavs’ locker room waiting to get their hands on Mavs second-year center Salah Mejri.

Apparently, Ariza felt Mejri said some choice words about his mother in the heat of the battle and Ariza wanted to settle the score. Mavs guards Wesley Matthews and Deron Williams attempted to settle down Ariza, and Mavs security eventually got things under control, leaving the Rockets off to their team bus without incident.

Rockets guard Patrick Beverley, who didn’t play because of an injury, was so animated afterward that he was constantly yelling at Mavs coach Rick Carlisle as he headed to the locker room. Beverly then went to Twitter to voice his displeasure:

“What we experienced today as a team was the upmost [sic] disrespect. And total disrespect to us and the GAME OF BASKETBALL,” he tweeted.

Another part of this near melee started when Mavs center Andrew Bogut was whistled for a flagrant foul in the second quarter when he set a hard screen on James Harden. But Bogut said the refereeing crew of Tony Brothers, Tony Brown and Leon Wood gave him no explanation of what he did wrong.

“I have to go appeal it through my agent and through the GM here and try to get my money back,” Bogut said. “If you watch the replay, yeah, he made no effort to run around my screen, so obviously I turned to protect myself and hit him and he went face-first into my shoulder.

“Yeah, it was a hard screen and I set hard screens, but to get a flagrant for it is kind of head-scratching when I felt like Justin Anderson had his wrist in a ju-jitsu hold four plays later and that was just brushed off like a regular foul. You admire the effort the league’s putting in Seacaucus (N.J.) that beautiful facility where they watch replays and watch TV and have leather chairs and all that kind of stuff, but you scratch your head at a lot of these things and it becomes very, very frustrating.”

Bogut also was very stern in talking to Mejri after the game in the locker room because Mejri apparently wanted to go and confront Ariza.

Indeed, it was a very frustrating night for the Mavs, who are 9-23 and have lost 13 games this season by 10 or more points. Some of that frustration may have played out in the Mavs’ performance on Tuesday.

Justin Anderson, Mejri and Carlisle all received technical fouls, and Dwight Powell and Bogut each were assessed a flagrant fouls.

On the flip side, Rockets players James Harden, Montrezl Harrell and Nene each were charged with technicals, and Ariza was ejected between the third and fourth quarters after he received his second technical.

The hard fouls, aggressive play and the Rockets players waiting for Mejri after the game made for an ugly scene at American Airlines Center. But the players felt the refs did a poor job of getting this game under control.

“I don’t know what that was,” said Matthews, who finished with 19 points in 29 minutes. “It wasn’t even basketball.

“Tempers between two in-state teams that play each other four times. There was opportunity for us to channel it into basketball, and we didn’t do that.”

Harden, who tallied game-highs of 34 points and 11 assists, wasn’t pleased with the Mavs.

I don’t know what that was. It wasn’t even basketball.

Wesley Matthews, Mavericks guard who finished with 19 points

“I don’t know what they was on tonight,” Harden said. “That other team was trippin’ tonight, just disrespectful, unprofessional, players and coaches.

“I don’t know what was their problem, but I think that got us going. They wanted to throw a little cheap shot and just woke us up a little bit and it was over from there.”

The game was tied at 37 early in the second quarter before Houston went on a 16-0 run to go up 53-37. The Mavs never recovered.

Harden sounded like he wanted to teach the Mavs how to play basketball.

“Yeah, tough season or not, you don’t handle things that way,” Harden said. “You don’t get flagrant fouls. That’s not professional. You don’t play basketball like that. You’re disrespecting the game of basketball. We’re going to leave it at that.”

Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni was more than happy that his team was able to get out of town with a 4-0 season series sweep – the first for the Rockets over the Mavs since 1997-98.

“I thought we kept our poise,” D’Antoni said. “It did get a little chippy, but it’s tough. It’s tough to play those games. I thought we played real good basketball and we beat them.”

Of the game’s physicality, D’Antoni said: “They tried to defend by being real physical and thinking that’s the way to do it. I don’t really want to get into it just because it doesn’t serve any purpose.

“We needed the win. We came out and we took care of business.”

The Rockets shot 52.6 percent from the field and also converted 17-of-32 shots from 3-point range. The Mavs made 15 of 38 3-pointers, making them the first Rockets’ opponent with more 3-point attempts in a game since the Lakers in the season opener.

“They are like no other team in this league with their tempo and how they play,” Matthews said of the Rockets. “Their schemes break the mold of traditional defenses.

“As a team, I honestly don’t know if we were all the way into what we had to do. We had to try to do some things and it was a difficult task and they made us pay for it.”

Once NBA headquarters gets information on what transpired during and after Tuesday’s game, some folks likely will be paying fines.

There were five technical fouls and a flagrant foul in the third quarter. By then, Bogut, who played all 11 of his minutes in the first half, was in the dressing room.

“I didn’t see anything really that chippy,” said Bogut, who had six rebounds, two blocks and no points. “It kind of got that way watching it on TV in the second half.

“Just one of those things between two teams that don’t like each other. That’s the way basketball should be played.”

The Rockets obviously don’t agree.

“I [was] just wanting to do my job and play,” Harden said. ‘But when you’re disrespectful and you’re taking shots and you’re doing things other than playing basketball, then we got to take it somewhere else.”

Dwain Price: 817-390-7760, @dwainprice

Houston

31

35

32

25

123

Dallas

31

16

27

33

107

Houston

Min

FG-A

FT-A

R

A

F

Pt

R.Anderson

28:22

7-12

4-4

3

0

3

22

Ariza

29:57

3-5

0-0

7

1

2

9

Brewer

20:23

3-6

0-0

3

1

1

8

Hilario

18:44

5-8

2-5

8

0

3

12

Harden

29:57

9-16

12-12

5

11

2

34

Gordon

27:16

4-9

3-3

5

3

2

13

Dekker

26:56

4-7

0-0

11

3

1

9

Harrell

25:47

3-7

1-2

2

1

2

7

Ennis

18:03

3-5

0-0

2

2

4

7

McDaniels

7:35

0-2

2-2

1

1

2

2

Wiltjer

3:29

0-1

0-0

0

0

0

0

Brown

3:29

0-0

0-0

1

0

0

0

Totals

240

41-78

24-28

48

23

22

123

Percentages: FG .526, FT .857. 3-Point Goals: 17-32, .531 (R.Anderson 4-7, Harden 4-7, Ariza 3-4, Brewer 2-3, Gordon 2-5, Ennis 1-1, Dekker 1-3, McDaniels 0-1, Wiltjer 0-1). Team Rebounds: 5. Team Turnovers: 16 (25 PTS). Blocked Shots: 5 (Gordon, Harden, Harrell, Hilario, R.Anderson). Turnovers: 16 (Harden 6, Ennis 3, Ariza, Brewer, Dekker, Gordon, Hilario, McDaniels, R.Anderson). Steals: 7 (Dekker 3, Ariza, Brewer, Hilario, R.Anderson). Technical Fouls: Hilario, 4:42 second; Ariza, 9:42 third; Harrell, 4:46 third; Harden, 1:50 thirdifnnull Ariza, 00:00 third. ; Ariza, 00:00 third.

Dallas

Min

FG-A

FT-A

R

A

F

Pt

Barnes

31:51

7-16

6-6

3

1

2

21

Nowitzki

14:56

2-8

3-4

3

0

0

7

Bogut

10:30

0-0

0-0

6

2

1

0

Matthews

28:35

7-13

2-2

1

1

2

19

Williams

23:16

2-11

0-1

3

6

2

6

Fin-Smith

25:16

2-3

0-0

1

1

1

4

Powell

23:18

4-6

4-6

2

3

5

13

Curry

22:05

4-10

0-0

3

3

0

11

J.Anderson

21:00

4-8

3-4

8

2

1

13

Harris

14:18

1-3

0-0

1

0

1

3

Jackson

10:35

2-5

2-2

1

2

0

7

Brussino

9:12

1-4

0-0

2

1

0

3

Mejri

5:08

0-0

0-0

4

0

3

0

Totals

240

36-87

20-25

38

22

18

107

Percentages: FG .414, FT .800. 3-Point Goals: 15-38, .395 (Curry 3-6, Matthews 3-7, Williams 2-5, J.Anderson 2-6, Powell 1-1, Jackson 1-2, Barnes 1-3, Harris 1-3, Brussino 1-4, Finney-Smith 0-1). Team Rebounds: 6. Team Turnovers: 9 (19 PTS). Blocked Shots: 5 (Bogut 2, J.Anderson 2, Mejri). Turnovers: 9 (Bogut 2, Jackson 2, Williams 2, Finney-Smith, Mejri, Nowitzki). Steals: 6 (Brussino 2, Curry, J.Anderson, Matthews, Powell). Technical Fouls: J.Anderson, 4:42 second; Mejri, 10:57 third; coach Rick Carlisle, 9:42 third. Att.—20,425 (19,200). T—2:19.

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