DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Luka Doncic rested a sore right ankle Wednesday night, but it wasn’t a problem as Jalen Brunson and Spencer Dinwiddie took the wheel — scoring 28 and 26 points respectively — helping the Dallas Mavericks overwhelm the Houston Rockets for a 110-91 victory.
The victory pulled Dallas even with Utah at 45-28 for the fourth seed and home-court advantage in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs. The Jazz, who lost 125-97 at Boston, currently hold the tiebreaker over the Mavericks. They play Sunday in Dallas.
Rookie Alperen Sengun had 14 points and 11 rebounds and Christian Wood scored 12 points with 10 boards in the 11th consecutive road loss for the Rockets, who have the worst record in the NBA at 18-55.
Dinwiddie had 19 points by early in the second quarter, and Brunson scored 16 in the third as the Mavericks quickly went in front for good after trailing 53-52 at halftime. Dallas outscored Houston 58-38 in the second half.
The previous game Doncic missed, that time because of a sore foot, became Dinwiddie’s first start with the Mavericks since coming from Washington in the trade that sent Kristaps Porzingis to the Wizards.
Dinwiddie had his Dallas (and season) high of 36 in that 114-113 victory over Sacramento on March 5. He and Brunson were the starting backcourt pairing again with the Mavericks needing to keep pace in a tight West playoff race against an overmatched opponent.
“I think me and Spencer have been comfortable since he got here,” Brunson said. “It kind of just slowed as soon as he was inserted into the lineup. It’s a credit to him for being a great teammate coming in here and just wanting to win.”
The Mavericks swept the season series (4-0) from the Rockets for the first time since consecutive seasons in 2010-11 and 2011-12. Those were were the final two seasons in Dallas as a player for first-year coach Jason Kidd, who was celebrating his 49th birthday.
The Rockets shot just 29% in the second half and were 4 of 28 (14%) from 3-point range for the game.
“They make it hard on you to get good shots,” Houston coach Stephen Silas said. “We have to learn how to create good shots against a good defensive team with our pace, with our actions, with our spacing. We didn’t do that tonight.”
Dorian Finney-Smith’s first 3-pointer gave the Mavericks their first double-digit lead at 77-66 with three minutes left in the third quarter. Finney-Smith scored 14 points.
Dallas went on a 13-3 run to start the fourth quarter for the first 20-point lead.
“We talked about the energy,” Kidd said. “At halftime, we talked about the communication was a little silent. A lot of times Luke will create that energy shooting the ball or making plays. We had to find that. We did a good job in the second half on both ends.”
(© Copyright 2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)