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Andrew Bogut return can't stop Dallas losing again

Andrew Bogut has weighed into the AFL trades debate. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
28th December, 2016
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Australian centre Andrew Bogut has returned from injury for NBA side Dallas Mavericks, but he failed to trouble the scorers in their 123-107 loss against Houston Rockets on Tuesday night (Wednesday AEDT).

Bogut collected six rebounds, blocked two shots and provided two assists in his 10 minutes of court time, but he didn’t take a shot as he returned after missing 11 games with a right knee injury.

James Harden scored 34 points and the Houston Rockets completed a four-game season sweep of Dallas, in a game marred by eight technical fouls.

Harden had 24 points at halftime and finished with 11 assists without playing in the fourth quarter. The Rockets broke a 37-all tie in the second with a 16-0 run and improved to 13-2 in December.

With two games left in the month, Houston can tie the franchise record of 15 wins from November 1996.

Five of the technicals came during the third quarter, and another during the break before the fourth when Houston’s Trevor Ariza was assessed his second technical and ejected.

There were also two flagrant fouls, both against Dallas.

Most of the technicals came during dead-ball situations, with players and Dallas coach Rick Carlisle complaining to officials. Carlisle mockingly clapped at the refs, saying “good call,” after he was whistled for one.

Harrison Barnes scored 21 for the last-placed Mavericks, who lost their second straight following their first two-game winning streak of the season.

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The game started with a bit of an edge when Harden had a couple of sharp exchanges with Bogut. The Aussie centre got one of the flagrant calls on a hard screen that staggered Harden, who had one of the third-quarter technicals.

There were a couple of face-to-face confrontations, the first ending in double technicals in the second quarter for Dallas’ Justin Anderson and Nene. Later in the quarter, Houston’s Ryan Anderson went nose-to-nose with Dallas star Dirk Nowitzki without a technical being called.

The Mavericks started their projected starting five for just the fourth time, and first since a 128-90 loss at Cleveland on November 25. The lineup is winless.

Bogut and Nowitzki, who scored seven points in his third game back from his latest absence for a sore right achilles tendon, stayed in the locker room at halftime.

In Miami, Russell Westbrook got his 15th triple-double of the NBA season and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Miami Heat 106-94 to extend their winning streak to four games.

Westbrook finished with 29 points, 17 rebounds and 11 assists. He was two rebounds shy of having registered the triple-double by halftime, and now has six before the end of third quarters this season.

Enes Kanter scored 19 and New Zealand centre Steven Adams added 15 – including a highlight-reel dunk in the first half – for the Thunder.

Meantime, in Boston, Avery Bradley scored 23 points, Isaiah Thomas had 21 points and seven assists, and the Celtics held off the Memphis Grizzlies 113-103.

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