Rockets win as the Wizards display a leaky roof and leaky defense.
Sorry, what did you say? I couldn’t hear you. There was an eight minute stretch in the 4th quarter that the “leaky” Wizards defense held the Rockets to 3 points and spurred a miraculous comeback? No you must be mistaken, shut your mouth. I SAID SHUT YOUR MOUTH WHEN YOU’RE TALKING TO ME!
Well that was almost no fun. The Rockets dominated the Wizards for almost the entire game, and half way through the third quarter had a 25 point lead but with 4 minutes left in the fourth, they were down 102-97. Oh the humanity.
The story of the first half was that when the Rockets shoot threes well, the offense is a well oiled machine. Howard (15pts) was killing them down low, the Rockets were 6-10 from three and driving lanes for Lin (12 pts) and Harden (10pts) were plentiful.
The other story of the first half was a ridiculous water leak that delayed the game for 30 minutes at the end of the first quarter. The game was tied at 29 when the delay happened but my guess is that it wasn’t actually water that was flowing through the poorly maintained roofs of the Verizon Center, it was Michael’s Secret Stuff. Keith Jones was clearly bottling it for “health science” or whatever voodoo he does, and providing it for the Rockets’ players because they came out with some purpose.
Even the bench came to play in the first half. While Harden and Howard sat on the bench Omri Casspi (12 pts) and the gang actually extended the lead. They beat the Wizards 34-17 in the second quarter and the rout was on…or so we thought.
The third quarter seemed to be business as usual, but you could see John Wall making the Rockets look stupid and slow regularly. They were getting open shots but not converting every time so the Rockets were able to keep pace as Terrence Jones and Howard made the paint their home. A little known big man named Kevin Seraphin came off the bench with 8 points in the quarter because of some splendid passing from Wall but the Rockets still led 94-79 going into the fourth quarter.
In the fourth quarter we got to see how many different ways Dwight Howard can screw up a post possession. Dribbling the ball off his foot, turning into the double team, inaccurate passing out of the post, blowing lay ups…he did it all. Now he had played well up until then so it’s not like it was ill-advised to send it his way but the fact of the matter is that he screwed up a lot of post possessions this time.
While we were blowing possessions on the offensive end, John Wall was going to work on Jeremy Lin and our interior defense. Poor Lin. He played 43 of the 48 minutes and was understandably dog tired by the end of the game, but Wall was out for blood. As Wall got by Lin our interior would collapse and it led to a crazy amount of easy shots for Seraphin. Howard picked up his 5th foul with seven minutes left as Washington had tied it up at 97, the comeback was complete. The Rockets then drop five points behind on more easy baskets for the Wizards big men and the depression sets in.
Then we got to watch some heroic efforts from James Harden and Terrence Jones.
The stage is set with the Rockets losing 102-97. James takes the ball in back to back possessions and barrels head long toward the basket with no hesitation at all. He draws fouls to close the gap to 100-102. He attacks again the next possession and missed the lay up but the idea is now firmly planted in Bradley Beal‘s mind (Harden’s matchup) that he needs to bet on the drive. Harden then scores a layup in transition that he made look easy. The fifth time Harden jabs hard, Beal stumbles, Harden gathers with a step back, raises up and hits the jumper. Beal had already committed to stopping Harden’s ‘J’ but went to far up underneath him and Harden draws the and-1. 105-102 Rockets.
Terrence Jones took over from there, stuffing what looked like an easy Beal layup then running the court for a tough lay in off of a Lin pass. The rout was routed! I’m not sure if you can double rout a rout but that’s what happened. Rockets cruised to a 114-107 win in the last minute and it was glorious on the second night of a back to back.
The statistical nitty-gritty is here.
The Rockets do it again on Monday against the Celtics at 6:30 PM CST.
Till next time folks.