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Houston Rockets 115, Phoenix Suns 112: Riding the roller coaster to a win

The predictability of the Rockets roller coaster ride continued tonight in Phoenix.  With an opening gambit, Houston took a 30 to 16 lead after the first quarter.  And then the wheels came off.  With an 18 point lead early in the second, it all went downhill.  9:14 left in the game, and the Suns had a 10 point lead.  The second and third quarters were disastrous defensively for the Rockets as they allowed the Suns to score 77 points.  But, the Rockets closed with a 29 to 16 run to eke out a great win on the road against a potential playoff matchup.

With everyone on the Rockets struggling to hit a three (Houston ended up 5 of 16), it was a grind.  They made up for their long game problem by hitting 52% from the field and 87% from the line.  Had they shot 87% from the line in Oakland, that game would have been won.  The free throws were in clutch time as well.  Beverley hit two big ones with 20 seconds left and D Mo hit two giant shots with 14 seconds.  With the Rockets out of timeouts and a lead of one, Parsons was inbounding from midcourt and passed it into D Mo! Lin was open in the backcourt, and Parsons made what seemed like a mistake getting it into D Mo.  D Mo is shooting 59% from the line and Lin is at 80%.  Inbounding the ball to our best free throw shooters late in the game is a continuing issue.

Tonight D Mo got all the crunch time minutes and McHale kept Jones on the bench.  McHale’s decision to ride D Mo was affirmed as soon as he hit 2 of his biggest free throws as a Rocket.  Jones had been 7 of 10 from the field with 15 points and had 7 boards, but he must have felt the intangibles were working for Donates.  Both players got 24 minutes but D Mo ended up with a +/- of +9 and T Jones ended up with a -6.

With the Rockets continuing their patterns of giving up leads and turning the ball over, this game looked like a goner.  Ever since the game in Oakland, the Rockets have looked a little slow and fatigued.  The energy level was low and the defense was lackadaisical.  In one of the timeouts, McHale was imploring Houston to battle.  Something clicked in the fourth quarter, as some shots started falling and Beverley went for 12.  With Lin struggling offensively (he ended up 1 for 6 from the field with 2 points), Beverley got the minutes in crunch time and played hard-nosed defense.  He ended up with 20 points.

Howard bounced back from his tough night of shooting in Oakland and led the Rockets with 25 points on 10 for 12 from the field.  He also went 5 for 7 from the line.  Harden played a lot of minutes (42) and finished with 23.  All the starters ended up in double-digit scoring again.  It sure would be nice to win some games by a larger margin and give some of the starters a little more rest.  One can only hope that Harden can hold up during the playoffs under all the minutes he’s been playing this season.

Goran Dragic almost beat the Rockets single handedly tonight.  He ended up with a career high 35 points, scoring and shot 14 of 20 from the field.  He was 5 for 7 from behind the arc and had a three point attempt to tie the game with the last shot.  He pump faked Lin out of the way, reset, had a clean look and missed to end the game.  With Dragic’s numbers all game, it seemed like that ball was destined to go in.  But, the Rockets are starting to deposit some in their season destiny bank with wins like tonight.  If the Rockets can keep up the end of game magic, they may go somewhere in the post season.

 

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Total comments: 12
  • linonlyfan says 7 months ago

    Great breakdown/recap highlighting the system issues and some maybe unseen individual contributions -http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJ3LSj6RtCY

  • rockets best fan says 7 months ago

    @PhillyCheese

    I don't know what game you were watching, but if it was the Rockets game you gotta love Lin an awful lot to see good play in what he produced last night. Lin may have had only 2 turnovers, but accounted for several more in addition to some bad shots because he drove into the teeth of the defense and then didn't know what to do with the ball. personally he shot 1-6 in the game in 20 minutes of playing time. now when Lin plays well I give him credit for it, however when he stinks I also call it like I see it. last night he stunk and has been stinking for the past few games. if that's not what you have been seeing maybe it time for an eye exam

  • Buckko says 7 months ago

    Consistency is not an attribute rocket's players have presently.

  • PhillyCheese says 7 months ago

    the d-league PG he should have been referring to is Lin..........he stunk last night. he may have had only 2 turnovers, but there were several plays where an outstanding play by a teammate helped save more turnovers.

    He did not stink last game. He wasn't shooting well so he stopped attempting shots, and istead got his teammates involved with 6 assists and played solid D. Let's just celebrate the win.

  • rockets best fan says 7 months ago

    the d-league PG he should have been referring to is Lin..........he stunk last night. he may have had only 2 turnovers, but there were several plays where an outstanding play by a teammate helped save more turnovers.

  • thejohnnygold says 7 months ago

    Some people really have it out for Lin... The first statement doesn't really make sense. Lin played 20 minutes. p453833 suggesting that if Lin hadn't played that Houston would have won my 20-30 points. This statement is absurd. Lin's hit another mini-slump, but I don't think you can blame the closeness of the game to Lin. Dumb.

    The D-League PG he was referring to was Beverley--not Lin.

  • metaman says 7 months ago

    Some people really have it out for Lin... The first statement doesn't really make sense. Lin played 20 minutes. p453833 suggesting that if Lin hadn't played that Houston would have won my 20-30 points. This statement is absurd. Lin's hit another mini-slump, but I don't think you can blame the closeness of the game to Lin. Dumb.

  • YaoMan says 7 months ago

    I assume your derogatory statement was in regards to Jeremy Lin. Couldn't have been Beverley, he hit the winning 3 pointer and scored 20 tonight and battled on the defensive end as usual.

    Although Lin shot the ball horribly, 1/6, he still managed 6 assists on only 2 turnovers in his 20 minutes of game action.

    Everyone is going to have bad games, D12 was terrible against Golden State and the Rockets as a team shot horribly from the free throw line which truly cost them that game more than any single play.

    Good to see the Rockets battle back from a double digit deficit and pull out another road win tonight against the Suns.

    Exactly. The focus is to be able to win road games against a playoff team when you are not at your best. They still have a tough road ahead of them with the Kings and Clips on back to back nights. Why do the Rockets always get the tough playoff team on the 2nd night of a back to back night on the road?

  • Bigtkirk says 7 months ago

    An odd game in a lot of ways. As you point out, the Rockets didn't take or hit many 3's, yet made most of their FT's. Other than D-Mo's late FT's, not much contribution from the bench. The NBA is a grind. You take a win, particularly on the road against a good team, any way it comes.

  • 08huangj says 7 months ago

    I assume your derogatory statement was in regards to Jeremy Lin. Couldn't have been Beverley, he hit the winning 3 pointer and scored 20 tonight and battled on the defensive end as usual.

    Although Lin shot the ball horribly, 1/6, he still managed 6 assists on only 2 turnovers in his 20 minutes of game action.

    Everyone is going to have bad games, D12 was terrible against Golden State and the Rockets as a team shot horribly from the free throw line which truly cost them that game more than any single play.

    Good to see the Rockets battle back from a double digit deficit and pull out another road win tonight against the Suns.

    Howard didn't play badly in Oakland even though he only scored 11 points. He got 21 rebounds and 4 blocks.

  • rocketrick says 7 months ago

    This is one of the most ugly game played by the Rockets, it should be an easy win by 20 - 30 points, just don't understand why McHale kept a d-league PG in there for so long, it seems the whole team was trying to stage a play for this underqualified PG.


    I assume your derogatory statement was in regards to Jeremy Lin. Couldn't have been Beverley, he hit the winning 3 pointer and scored 20 tonight and battled on the defensive end as usual.

    Although Lin shot the ball horribly, 1/6, he still managed 6 assists on only 2 turnovers in his 20 minutes of game action.

    Everyone is going to have bad games, D12 was terrible against Golden State and the Rockets as a team shot horribly from the free throw line which truly cost them that game more than any single play.

    Good to see the Rockets battle back from a double digit deficit and pull out another road win tonight against the Suns.
  • p453833 says 7 months ago

    This is one of the most ugly game played by the Rockets, it should be an easy win by 20 - 30 points, just don't understand why McHale kept a d-league PG in there for so long, it seems the whole team was trying to stage a play for this underqualified PG.

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