Returnee Smith boosts Rockets for second game

Back with Houston after half a season with the LA Clippers, Josh Smith is delighted after making a three-pointer, as Dallas forward Chandler Parsons runs back for the re-start. The Rockets won 115-104.
Back with Houston after half a season with the LA Clippers, Josh Smith is delighted after making a three-pointer, as Dallas forward Chandler Parsons runs back for the re-start. The Rockets won 115-104.PHOTO: REUTERS

HOUSTON • It has taken all of two games for newly acquired Houston Rockets forward Josh Smith to make the sort of impact that reinvigorates hopes for a National Basketball Association (NBA) team straining mightily against them.

Along with guard James Harden, he keyed a second-half offensive resurgence and Houston rallied from a third-quarter deficit to race past the Dallas Mavericks 115-104 on Sunday at the Toyota Center.

Harden posted his eighth career triple-double and second this season, finishing with 23 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists.

Smith added 16 points off the bench and energised the Rockets (24-22) for a second straight game following his move from the Los Angeles Clippers last Friday.

"I feel comfortable," said the 30-year-old, who averaged 12 points, six rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.2 blocks in 55 games for the Rockets a season ago.

"It might have been a little different story if this had been my first time getting to know these guys, but being able to get an opportunity to play with the same team around the same group of guys is awesome."

Forward Trevor Ariza scored a season-high 29 points and shot 11 of 15 from the floor, including six of nine three-pointers as Houston managed a 28-point second-half turnaround.

Dallas entered the fourth period shooting 53.4 per cent but suffered a late collapse.

Forward Chandler Parsons poured in a season-high 31 points against his former team, while Dirk Nowitzki added 19 points.

"They are tough to defend with the roster they have, regardless of who's out there," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said of the Rockets.

"They are very deep and they didn't even have (centre Dwight) Howard playing. Smith is a guy who played well for them last year and he's playing well for them this year, so he doesn't make it any easier."

The Mavericks held a 73-65 lead when Smith entered with 5min 35sec left in the third period and in a flash, he sparked the Rockets' 11-4 run into contention.

"Josh brought that extra burst that we needed," Harden said. "It's just perfect timing."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 26, 2016, with the headline 'Returnee Smith boosts Rockets for second game'. Print Edition | Subscribe