Houston Rockets guard James Harden claims the team never stopped believing they could beat the Dallas Mavericks and that belief led them to earning a narrow 153-149 win. With just 45 seconds to go in regulation, the Rockets trailed by seven but worked their way back to force an overtime -- in which Harden scored seven points to propel the Rockets over the Mavericks.
Harden had an outstanding game as he led all scorers with 49 points, while he also added nine rebounds and eight assists. "We kept telling ourselves that we're built for it," Harden said, as quoted on ESPN. "We're going to play four quarters.
We have legs to be able to push through [and] mental toughness." Russell Westbrook also had a great game as he contributed to his team's win by scoring 31 points, grabbing 11 rebounds and handing out eight assists.
"We willed our way to that win," Westbrook said. "We went and took that game. They thought they had it, and we went and took it away."
Mavericks want to use the loss as a lesson
MVP candidate Luka Doncic had a triple double as he scored 28 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and dished out 10 assists but he struggled in the fourth quarter and overtime.
"We're a young team. We've got a lot to learn," Doncic said. "We'll get better for sure. I know we're going to get together when it matters most in the playoffs, so I'm not worried about that."
Kristaps Porzingis also put up a great performance but his 39-point and 16-rebound game wasn't enough for the Mavericks to beat the Rockets. "This one is, I would say, a great loss for us," Porzingis said. "We have to take lessons from this game.
We have to look at the film and see what we could have done better at the end to close out the game. That's it. I feel like we have to take the positive of this tough loss that we had and try to learn from it." Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle took the responsibility for the loss on himself.
"A lot of this stuff comes down to details," Carlisle said. "Look, I'll take full responsibility for the loss. I want to keep the pressure off the players. They really played their butts off, but we were unable to make some key plays that we needed to make."