HOUSTON --Rick Carlisle knows the Houston Rockets will bring a lot more heat to American Airlines Center than the Philadelphia 76ers, who fought Dallas mightily on Monday before losing to the Mavericks, 97-94.
The Rockets have a star-studded cast led by Dwight Howard, James Harden, Jeremy Lin and Chandler Parsons. Houston will bring its top talent to the AAC on Wednesday where they'll play the Mavs at 8:30 p.m. in a game that will be televised nationally on ESPN.
"This is a higher profile game (than the Sixers) because of who the opponent is,'' Carlisle, the Mavs' coach, said. "They’ve got two superstar players (in Howard and Harden) and they’re considered to be a Top 5 team in the league.''
The Mavs saw first-hand how difficult it is to contain the Rockets. Back on Nov. 1 the Rockets defeated the Mavs in Houston, 113-105, behind 34 points from Harden, and 13 points and 16 rebounds from Howard.
"We didn’t play very well down there,'' said Carlisle, whose team shot only 38 percent from the field earlier this season against Houston. "A lot of that had to do with how good they are, and so we’ve got to do a lot of things better.
"The priorities for us are avoiding catastrophic turnovers and being better with transition defense. Those two things right now are preventing us from being the kind of defensive team we need to be.''
Carlisle knows his defense must be very solid against a Rockets' squad that can hurt teams inside or on the perimeter.
"We’ve gone from at 29th in the league (in defense) the first week of the season, and we’re up to 13th,'' Carlisle said. "And our catastrophic turnovers are keeping us from being in the Top 10, so ball security has a lot to do with that.
"We have to have our offense work for our defense, instead of the other way around.''
-- Dwain Price
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