The Rockets matched a season low for points in a 95-74 road loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Friday. Houston (31-18) also shot a season-low 33.3 percent from the field in losing for just the second time in its last eight games.
“I have to make sure we play better against teams the quality of Dallas,” Houston coach Jeff Van Gundy said. “If you want to point the finger, point it at me.”
The same might go for teams below that quality. It was only seven days ago Houston scored 74 points in a 13-point home loss against New Orleans—which is 23-27.
Houston star Tracy McGrady scored 20 points, below his 23.9 season average, and was frustrated by as many as three different Dallas players who defended him.
“When I brought up the ball, there were two guys on me and our offense became hesitant,” McGrady said. “Guys didn’t know what to do. We’re too good for that.”
The Rockets are capable of making up for Friday’s struggles against the Bobcats (18-32). Houston, which allows an NBA-best 90.4 points per game, gave up their fewest points of the season in a 92-62 win over Charlotte on Dec. 12. It was also the fewest points scored by the Bobcats in 2006-07.
The Bobcats lost their third in a row on Friday, 108-100 in overtime to the Portland Trail Blazers.
Charlotte didn’t get much of a boost with starting guard Brevin Knight back in the lineup after missing 24 games following abdominal surgery. He scored just one point and went 0-for-5 from the field in 26 minutes.
Gerald Wallace had 30 points and 15 rebounds, and Emeka Okafor added 23 and 10, respectively. It was Okafor’s 30th double-double of the season, but he fouled out in overtime as the Bobcats were outscored 21-13.
“We didn’t pay attention to the game plan in the things we wanted to do against Zach Randolph,” Wallace said. “He went out tonight and did what he wanted to do when he wanted to do it.”
The Bobcats are expected to have reserve forward Sean May back Saturday after missing the last eight games with a sore knee. He is averaging 11.5 points and 6.7 rebounds in 32 games.
Charlotte, which is 8-17 on the road, has lost three straight away from home.