The Houston Rockets landed in Miami with the intention of taking off again. Following their historic shooting performance against the Warriors the previous night, Houston shot 58.8% on the night and kept pace with the East-best Heat, racking up 30 points in the first and 108 overall. James Harden went berserk late to close a gap, but the Heat just had too much firepower. Harden may have dropped a superstar line, but Miami got that from both LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, proving too much for Houston to handle.

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in game coverage

How is Houston Faring in the Clutch?

So far this season, the Rockets are 4-3 in games decided by five points or less. The fact that Houston has played only seven such games over a 50-game sample points to the great variance and variability in this young team’s performance. A 4-3 record doesn’t suggest that the Rockets are performing particularly poorly or exceptionally in close games. Nonetheless, I took a look at the available clutch statistics to see if I could find anything of interest, especially when compared with how the Rockets perform in general.

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Atlanta, Dallas and Houston will be Howard’s chief suitors when he enters free agency July 1. But the Lakers can offer Howard a five-year contract worth roughly $118 million while every other team in the league can offer him only about $88 million over four years. The extra $30 million means a lot to Howard, sources said, and is definitely a major advantage for the Lakers. With the injuries he’s recently suffered to his back and shoulder, Howard might be less inclined to give up the extra year of security.

“I understand, you know, what the Lakers want,” Howard told Smith on Monday of his contract status. “And I also understand that right now, there’s no need for all the circus and all the stuff that happened last year [with Orlando] to start back up. I don’t want it, my team doesn’t need it, I don’t need it, and frankly, our fans don’t need it neither.”

Of the Lakers’ three free-agent competitors, Houston appears to be the most favorable for Howard. Dallas is aging, and Howard is not keen on playing in his hometown of Atlanta. Houston, on the other hand, has star guard James Harden and is only a frontcourt star away from becoming a legitimate factor in the Western Conference.

While Howard had no interest in going to Houston last season, sources say he is aware the Rockets have become a more attractive destination since acquiring Harden.

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in musings

The Daily Blast – February 6, 2013

Let Me Count The Ways – If there is a record for number of records tied or broken in an NBA game, the Rockets probably broke it last night.

1. Tied most 3-pointers made in an NBA game: 23

2. Tied most 3-pointers made in a first half: 14

2. New team record: most 3-pointers made in a Houston Rockets game

3. Most points scored in the Toyota Center: 140

5. Most three pointers by Jeremy Lin in a game: 5

List continues after the break…

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in columns

Tonight, in many ways, was a game devoted to setting records.  The Rockets offense scored 77 points in the first half, their most points in a half for the season, tied the all-time NBA record of 23 3-pointers in a game, and finished with by far their most points of the season with 140.  Yet at the very end, the Rockets set a less quantifiable record through the fact that I have never seen such a testy 30-point blowout at the very, very end of the game.

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in game coverage

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