Taipei, Dec. 9 (CNA) James' Harden's 39 points were not enough to help the Houston Rockets get their seventh straight home victory when the team lost to the Dallas Mavericks 116-109 in Texas Saturday.
Rockets head coach Kevin McHale returned to the sideline after being absent since Nov. 10 due to the declining health of his daughter, who died of lupus complications Nov. 24 at the age of 23.
"It's been a while," he was quoted by AP as saying. "Hopefully it's the right time... I'm excited to be back."
The Mavericks' O.J. Mayo was the biggest contributor to his team's win, scoring 40 points and making eight rebounds.
The Mavericks were unstoppable right from the start, with a season-high 39 points in the first quarter alone, 15 points ahead of the Rockets' 24 points.
The Rockets faced a 19-point deficit at one point in the second quarter. However, Harden stood out and had 30 points in the first half, leading the Rockets to 66-63 at halftime. He made nine assists and six rebounds in his 46-minute start.
The Rockets maintained their lead into the final quarter until the Mavericks battled it back and reversed the score 102-100 when Brandan Wright made a slam dunk with 4:18 remaining.
Rockets star point guard Jeremy Lin's time on court got cut to 18 minutes. He only played in the first and the third quarters and finished with seven points, two rebounds, three assists and two steals.
"That's their (the coaches') decision and I totally respect that. We are all in this together. We are on a team," Lin said in an interview when asked about his short appearance.
"I just try to go out there and play hard. I am not disappointed in my effort," Lin said.
The 9-10 Rockets are scheduled to play the San Antonio Spurs in Houston Dec. 10.
(By Lin Hung-han and Nell Shen)