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Rockets bring it against the Champs

Posted By Munaf Manji On Dec 2 2010 @ 12:33 pm In Houston Rockets | 1 Comment

In possibly the biggest win of the season thus far for the Rockets,  this may be the start of a turning point for the season. Maybe? Toyota Center was rocking last night with the Lake show in town and the fans turned out for this game and a great win it was for the Rockets. The Rockets played the full 48 minutes of basketball which in previous games they have failed to do, and had an unknown hero emerge to put away the Champs. In an 109-99 victory for the Rockets, Shane Battier appeared to be the hero for the good guys pouring in 11 big points in the fourth quarter and two monstrous  3′s from his favorite spot on the floor.

But lets not talk about the stats of last nights game, lets talk about the intangible characteristics of the Rockets, their will, effort, and warrior like attitude they played with last night. Yes, the Rockets always play the Lakers a tough, close game which always comes down to the wire, we saw that last night and we saw that in the season opener against the Lakers. But one key difference I saw last night was the ability of the Rockets to respond to runs made by the Lakers.  Towards the end of the 2nd quarter the Rockets went on a 13-4 run to cut the deficit to 3 points at the break. More importantly the play of the Rockets in the 2nd half was the biggest key. Rockets won the 3rd quarter by 1 point heading into the 4th quarter down only 2. If the Rockets wanted a chance to win this game they had to contain any run made by the Lakers heading into the 4th quarter.  Lakers went up as much as 7 points in the final quarter thanks in large part by Matt Barnes who had back to back 3 point plays for the Lakers which was huge for the Lakers.

It seemed that the same problem was occurring for the Rockets in the 4th like it had all season, but the Shane and the gang said that’s enough lets turn things around. Down 97-94 with about 3 minutes left the Rockets went on a 15-2 run to end the game and cap off a 10 point victory for the Rockets. They got stops where they needed and capitalized off turnovers by the Lakers. Adding to the fact that Kevin Martin had a tremendous 2nd half for the Rockets, where 20 of his 22 points came.  Kevin and Shane drew fouls from behind the arc and knocked down all 6 of those free throws which was huge.

You have to also give big credit to Jordan Hill and Chuck Hayes, yes Lamar Odom had a big game for the Lakers but one key was that if the Rockets were going to win the ball game they would have to contain the length of the Lakers. Pau Gasol was held to 2-8 shooting and scored only 8 points. Had he scored 15-20 points for the Lakers obviously I believe the Lakers would have won the game. But nonetheless give Hayes, and Hill for slowing down the Spaniard.

Defensively the Rockets held the Lakers to 43 second half points which was an incredible job, along that Rockets scored 56 of their own points in the 2nd half.

Some stats from the game:

Rockets hit 19 of their 21 free theows, Martin went 10 of 10 from the line

27 assists on the 40 made baskets, along with shooting 50% from the field

10-22 from beyond the arc.

This part of the schedule was a difference maker for the Rockets, where they played the elite teams of the West, Thunder this past Monday at home which they were able to squeak out a win against, had a tough back to back against the hot Dallas Mavericks where they just ran out of gas, and getting a big victory last night against the Lakers. The Rockets now have won 3 straight games at home, and now face a division opponent in Memphis on Friday night.

Good news for the Rockets, as they expect Yao Ming to be back against the Pistons on Tuesday, December 7th, and starting point guard Aaron Brooks back on December 10th. With these guys back for the Rockets and some positive wins to build off of lets see if the Rockets can push to a .500 record by the end of the month.

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