The clash between the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks capped off the second day of the NBA's restart in Orlando. And what a game it was.
The two best teams in the league, in offensive rating (prior to the restart), put on a show.
In the end, after 53 minutes of on-court action, the Rockets clinched a come-from-behind 153-149 overtime victory after being down by as many as 14 with 2:03 left to play in the third quarter.
Here are the biggest takeaways from the rivetting contest:
Harden's dominant and efficient 49
The Beard carried over his red-hot shooting form from the scrimmages to the seeding games. He started off on fire, scoring 23 (6-6 FGs; 9-9 FTs) of the team's 42 points in the first quarter.
En route to that first-quarter tally, he passed Hall of Famer Calvin Murphy for the second spot on the Rockets' all-time scoring charts.
SECOND MOST POINTS IN FRANCHISE HISTORY! @budweiserusa l #LegendaryMoments pic.twitter.com/kkA2NuL1fH- Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) August 1, 2020
After a quiet second quarter, where he had just three points, Harden went off again in the second half and then in the extra five-minute session.
Harden played in 24 of the last 29 minutes of the game, adding another 23 points in that span. He finished the game with 49 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists on a ridiculously efficient shooting percentage of 70% (14-20 FGs) from the field. He also knocked down 18 of his 21 free-throw attempts.
This was his 48th 40-point game in the last two seasons, one more than six other All-Stars combined.
40-point games in the last 2 seasons- StatMuse (@statmuse) August 1, 2020
James Harden: 48
Giannis, LeBron, Westbrook, Lillard, PG, Durant combined: 47 pic.twitter.com/199uTwVsQh
His performance makes him the only player in the last 25 years to score 49 or more on 20 or lesser shot attempts.
Luka & Porzingis shine, but struggle in the clutch
At the final horn, the Mavericks' two international young stars in Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis finished with great box scores.
The Slovenian recorded a league-leading 15th triple-double with 28 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists, while the Latvian registered a monster double-double with 39 points and 16 rebounds.
.@luka7doncic notches his 15th triple-double of the season for the @dallasmavs! #MFFL #WholeNewGame- NBA (@NBA) August 1, 2020
28 PTS | 13 REB | 10 AST pic.twitter.com/3U9BfapTZ3
Their great first-half play helped the Mavs take a 10-point (85-75) lead to the locker room at half-time. However, the duo struggled when it mattered in the clutch. As the Rockets began making their run, after trailing by their biggest deficit of 14, the Mavericks couldn't respond.
In the fourth quarter and overtime session combined, Doncic and Porzingis combined for just 12 points on 5-of-16 shooting from the field, while committing five of the team's seven turnovers.
Carlisle: "I'll take full responsibility for the loss. I want to keep the pressure off the players." https://t.co/2oSMqzReI2- Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) August 1, 2020
Trey Burke's career-night
The 27-year-old signed a rest-of-the-season deal with the Mavericks on July 1st. In their first seeding game, he made the most of the opportunity he was given.
Trey Burke sparks the @dallasmavs in the 1st half with 19 PTS on 5-5 from downtown! #WholeNewGame- NBA (@NBA) August 1, 2020
📺: ESPN pic.twitter.com/2UuWayaEXK
He went off for 31 points, the most in his career since Nov. 2018. He started off on fire, knocking down his first seven shots from beyond the arc, eventually finishing off with a career-high eight triples.
Playing a total of 31 minutes, he also finished with six assists and was a team-high +9.
Robert Covington saves the day
After Harden, Russell Westbrook was the next biggest contributor for the Rockets. In 43 minutes, he finished with 31 points, 11 rebounds, and eight assists.
However, among the non-All-Stars on the Rockets squad, the starting center Robert Covington was the star. He played 42:30 minutes and contributed across the board - 13 points, 11 rebounds, four blocks, three assists, two steals, and was a +7.
More importantly, his tip-in off of a deliberate free-throw miss by Harden, at the end of regulation, forced overtime.
Robert Covington forces OT with the incredible tip-in off the missed free-throw! #PhantomCam #OneMission #WholeNewGame pic.twitter.com/EHPSDf5lLB- NBA (@NBA) August 1, 2020
In total, seven Rockets finished in double figures with the highest non-All-Star contribution being from Danuel House Jr. - 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting from the field.
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