The Houston Rockets are in a tough stretch. Despite having 3 of their first 4 games after the All Star break at home, and having a great home record prior to the break, the Rockets are now 1-4 since the break after tonight’s tough loss to the Celtics. This was the first of a 5 game road trip for Houston, and a win to snap their 3 game skid would have been a great way to start it off.
The game was sloppy and unpredictable throughout. Neither team really gained control, though Boston had plenty off opportunities to do so, but never took advantage. The Rockets shot an ugly 28% in the second quarter and managed only 12 points, yet only trailed by 6 at the midway point. Coming out of halftime, it looked like more of the same, but a 21-6 run to end the 3rd gave the Rockets a 5 point lead heading into the final period. Houston was able to maintain a good lead for most of the quarter, but Boston went on a 14-2 run to take a 2 point lead with under 30 seconds remaining. Rajon Rondo then had a chance to put the game away in regulation with an easy, uncontested, breakaway layup, but missed it badly. The Rockets came back down the floor and Goran Dragic hit a long 2 to tie the game. (Watch the incredible turn of events here.) Ray Allen did get a chance to win it at the buzzer with a wide open 15-foot jumper, but fortunately for the Rockets, he missed it, and the game went into overtime.
“”The fact that we were in overtime was very lucky. What are the chances that Rondo misses a wide-open layup with nobody close to him?” Scola said. “The fact that we played the overtime was a bonus, was a present. We lost the game before that.”
Boston took over in the extra session, and the Rockets lost their 4th straight game, and lost for the first time in Boston in the last 3 years. Houston had a 10 point lead with about 6 minutes to play in regulation, and began to play the clock instead of running their offense. McHale said after the game, “”We started doing the worst thing you can do on the road, just start playing the score as opposed to playing the game. We had rhythm going and then we just got too conservative trying to run the clock, trying to play perfect basketball. You just got to go play basketball.” There were 3 straight possessions where the Rockets wasted almost all of the shot clock and ended up taking bad shots. This was the 3rd straight game that was winnable for the Rockets, but inability to close proved costly again. However, the Rockets did snap their 10 game streak of losing the rebounding battle, as they outrebounded Boston 57-38. Both Scola(18pts, 14rebs) and Dalembert(11pts, 17rebs) finished with double-doubles.
Houston now stands at 21-18, and sits at the 8 spot in the West, with only a 1 game lead on Minnesota. In the always competitive Western Conference, Houston can’t afford anymore losing streaks like this. Houston needs to find a way to win on the road, and will get a good chance to turn things around Wednesday night against a struggling Toronto team, whom the Rockets just beat last week in Houston, but only by 3 points.
Side Note: Surprisingly, Kevin Martin did not see a minute of action after about the 6 minute mark of the 3rd quarter. He was 4-10 from the field and had 11 points. Also, after seeing his first significant playing time of the season, Terrence Williams missed yesterdays practice, and was benched for tonight’s game. If this guy could straighten up his attitude, who knows how good he could be.
About the Author
Written by Mohsin Ghesani
Huge sports fan! More specifically, huge HOUSTON sports fan. Love the Rockets and Texans!