Having led the fourth-quarter portion of the Rockets' latest comeback bid, Jeremy Lin considered what could have been different and said, "If I could hit a free throw, that would be nice."

James Harden thought of his final forays through the lane and to the rim and said: "I just got to make layups. That's me. I just got to make layups and got to make free throws."

That seems fair. Making layups and free throws could be a key to closing out a win on the road. They were conspicuously lacking in the final minutes after the Rockets came back from a 15-point deficit only to have the Mavericks hold on 105-100, sending the Rockets to their fifth consecutive defeat Wednesday night.

As long as the Rockets are assessing what could be different, or as Harden put it "things we can control," here's another idea: Don't give away huge swaths of the game to force them to need monumental road comebacks.