About the Mavericks (2-4):
They are playing their first back-to-back set of games of the season after losing 118-108 Sunday night in Chicago . . . They won’t know for sure if they’re going to have Luka Dončić until after his left thigh contusion is re-evaluated pregame . . . The Mavericks continue to struggle from 3-point range. They made just 11-of-42 from beyond the arc against Chicago and are shooting just 30.7 percent for the season . . . Worse, they are suffering in the hustle plays at both ends of the court. Coach Rick Carlisle said the Mavericks only secured 25 percent of what he called 50-50 balls. “The ones that are floating around on the ground, we got to come up with those,” said Willie Cauley-Stein, who has been one of the most active Mavericks the last few games. “That’s energy builders for the other side when they get them. We just can’t give up those type of plays. That’s how teams get going that aren’t supposed to beat you. You give them those plays, now they believe they can beat you.” . . . Interestingly, the Mavericks go into the Houston game as 1½-point favorites, according to oddsmakers.
About the Rockets (2-2):
@ESefkoThey have won two in a row, both against the Sacramento Kings, after dropping their first two games of the season. They also had a game postponed because of health protocols . . . James Harden (ankle) missed the last game against the Kings, but could return against the Mavericks. He’s averaged 37 points and 11 assists in the three games he’s played . . . John Wall, acquired in the Russell Westbrook trade from Washington, has averaged 25 points and 7.5 assists in the two games he’s played. “John Wall and James Harden. It’s a lot to prepare for,” said Jalen Brunson. “We just got to come out ready to play and put this (Chicago) game behind us. We’re capable of doing a lot better, no doubt. We just got to bring it every night. That’s our challenge right now.” . . . Another challenge facing them? Newcomer Christian Wood. The big man is averaging 23.8 points and 10.8 rebounds in four games . . . The Rockets are led by first-year head coach Stephen Silas, formerly a member of Rick Carlisle’s staff . . . The Rockets have had trouble defensively, giving up more than 116 points per game and allowing them to hit 38.7 percent from 3-point range.