In his return from injury, John Wall had 31 points and seven assists as the Houston Rockets defeated the Dallas Mavericks 102-93 on Wednesday night.
“We didn’t stop fighting,” Wall said. “We made some big stops and we made some big shots.”
Wall had been out for the previous four games due to swelling in his right knee. Christian Wood led the Rockets with 22 points and 10 rebounds.
“It’s good to finally have my point guard back,” Wood said. “John made my job easier. He was our X-factor in the fourth quarter.”
The game was tied with about two minutes remaining when the Rockets scored the next seven points to take a 96-89 lead with one minute remaining. Wall got things started in that stretch with a layup and a three-pointer. Kevin Porter Jr. capped the run by blocking a shot by Dorian Finney-Smith and finishing with a two-handed dunk on the other end.
Coach Stephen Silas was impressed with his team’s focus and delighted to see players having fun during a difficult season.
“To see the elation in the guys was gratifying because they’ve been through a lot and we’ve been through a lot as a group,” he said.
Kristaps Porzingis led the Mavericks with 23 points and 12 rebounds in his return after missing Monday’s game with a sprained right wrist. The Mavericks’ five-game winning streak came to an end. Luka Doncic scored 23 points on 9-of-26 shooting, including 1 of 9 from beyond the arc.
“This game was a lot more about how well they played,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. “We’ve got to be better at the beginning of the game and carry it through and tonight we didn’t do that.”
The game was the season finale between the in-state rivals. It was rescheduled from Feb. 19 due to utility issues caused by a rare Texas winter storm. The season series was won by Houston, 2-1.
Houston led by 11 points after three quarters, but the Mavericks used a 12-5 run, highlighted by seven points from Tim Hardaway Jr., to pull within 80-76 with about eight minutes left.
Kelly Olynyk’s three-pointer gave the Rockets an 89-84 lead. However, the Mavericks scored the next five points, highlighted by a three-pointer from Finney-Smith, to tie the game about a minute later. –ESPN