The Rockets couldn’t overcome an injury report longer than a receipt from CVS despite another monster performance from James Harden. Missed free-throws sunk Houston late, as they fell to Brooklyn 145-142 in overtime.
Without Clint Capela, Mike D’Antoni opted to start the game with an uber small lineup that included Gary Clark at center. The Rockets new lineup didn’t start the game well on the defensive end of the ball. A few wide open dunks and lay-ups opened up the floor for Brooklyn, and the Nets took a 15-point lead early.
It was Eric Gordon, the man returning from injury (only to leave injured again), who sparked the comeback. Gordon scored 10 of his 20 points in the first quarter, leading an 11-0 run to close out the period.
The Rockets trailed Brooklyn by eight heading into half time. Up to that point James Harden had been relatively quiet, but that certainly wasn’t going to last for long. Harden exploded for 22 points in the third quarter on his way to a 58-point night. That’s his second game THIS WEEK with 55 or more points.
Houston maintained control of the game throughout most of the fourth quarter, and held a 14-point lead with five minutes to play. However Brooklyn began to quietly creep back into the game. PJ Tucker and James Harden missed four free-throws in the final 30 seconds, leaving the door open for the Nets to make a late comeback. Spencer Dinwiddie capitalized, making the game-tying three to send the game to overtime.
Overtime ended similarly to regulation, with a Rockets miss. This time it lead to the loss.
“We just have to try to forget about this one,” Gerald Green said after the game. “It’s a tough loss for us, but we just have to keep moving forward.”
Despite the disappointing loss, there are a couple positives that Houston can take from the Brooklyn game. The Rockets are without Danuel House after failing to agree on a contract, but it looks like James Nunnally might be able to fill in reliably. It took him a bit to grow into the game, but he hit three shots from deep, including one very important one in the fourth quarter and another in overtime.
Speaking of shooting threes, the Rockets did a lot of that tonight. They already had the NBA record for threes attempted at the end of regulation, but they added six more in overtime to bring their total to a preposterous 70 3-point attempts.
Nonetheless, this loss drops the Rockets to 25-19 on the season. Houston will look to bounce back Saturday night against the Los Angeles Lakers.