The Houston Rockets grabbed a win over the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night at Toyota Center. In the process, they became the first team to play an entire game without a player listed taller than 6-foot-6 since the New York Knicks in 1963.
Houston played their small-ball lineup after their usual starting center Clint Capela was sidelined due to a bruised heel. Their tallest starter was forward Danuel House Jr., who is listed at 6’6″.
A source told me last night that #Cavs Brandon Knight was feeling good and could be back in "the next game or two." Knight officially listed as questionable for Saturday.
— Chris Fedor (@ChrisFedor) January 31, 2020
Mavs forward Kristaps Porzingis, meanwhile, can’t believe about the Rockets record. However, he did mention that it is the current trend in the NBA today — one which has seen old-school big men go obsolete.
“It’s crazy. It’s the NBA of today. A lot of mismatches, trying to open the floor… They’re good at what they do,” KP said after their 128-121 defeat.
Porzingis on the fact no Rocket who played tonight was taller than 6-6 (plus he pulls off wearing the backward pink hat pretty darn well). pic.twitter.com/yos9dWDTze
— Brad Townsend (@townbrad) February 1, 2020
KP is listed at 7-foot-3, although he is known for his ability to spread the floor with his shooting that extends from beyond the 3-point territory. Porzingis led the Mavs with 35 points and 12 rebounds, clearly taking advantage of the Rockets’ lack of frontcourt threat.
Unfortunately for the Mavs, the absence of Luka Doncic — who was ruled out after spraining his ankle during Tuesday’s practices — proved to be too difficult to overcome.
Despite their lack of height, the Rockets relied on the explosive scoring of their MVP backcourt duo of James Harden and Russell Westbrook. Harden got out of a recent slump and scored 35 points along with 16 rebounds, while Westbrook continued his insane scoring streak with 32 points and 9 assists.
With the win, the Rockets break their tie with the Mavs (at 29-18 before the game) to make a solo claim for the fifth seed in the Western Conferense standings. Dallas dropped to sixth in the postseason picture, though they are still relatively safe from the other chasers looking to make the cut for a playoff berth.