HOUSTON -- The Dallas Mavericks look nothing like the team that dismantled the Clippers and Suns. Maybe the Rockets, minus Luis Scola and Kyle Lowry, are just better. With the No. 2 seed on the line, the Mavs are playing as though they're fine and dandy with the No. 3 or maybe even the No. 4 seed.
At the half, the undermanned Rockets lead this ragged affair, 47-43. That despite shooting 37.8 percent from the floor for the entire half, and it got that high thanks to the Mavs not even guarding Goran Dragic on a short jumper with less than 10 seconds on the clock.
Dirk Nowitzki leads the Mavs with 13 points on 5-of-12 shooting and there's really nothing much else to say. Shawn Marion and Jason Terry each have eight points. Perhaps Jason Kidd should have taken the night off. He has two points and one assist. He's 1-of-6 from the floor and 0-of-5 from the arc.
This team is back to looking like it did against Minnesota before the six-game road trip and then throughout that trip.
They have a half to turn it around or kiss a gift-wrapped 2-seed good-bye.