The Houston Rockets were down by one with just under a minute remaining when James Harden drove to the basket, drew the foul, and hit both free throws to put the Rockets up one. Anthony Davis split his free throws to tie the game with 47 seconds left. On the next possession, Harden hit a nasty step-back jumper on Austin Rivers to put the Rockets ahead.
What happened next was likely not what the Pelicans wanted. After a lot of dribbling and the shot clock winding down, Jason Smith found himself with the ball at the top of the key and he missed the jumper. Chandler Parsons was fouled and hit just one of two free throws to give the Rockets a three point lead with 11 seconds left. Even though Eric Gordon was their go-to-scorer tonight, it was Darius Miller who take the game-tying three which missed its target, giving the Rockets the 103-100 win.
The Rockets made a comeback in the third quarter and did have the game tied at one point in the third. Terrence Jones had three separate and-1′s and led the Rockets with 12 points in the third. It looked like the Rockets could be within a possession at the end of the quarter, but Gordon nailed two second-chance three’s late in the quarter to give the Pelicans a 7-point lead after 36 minutes.
The first half for the Rockets was sluggish for the most part. Dwight Howard picked up 3 early fouls and was only able to play 10 minutes in the half, Omri Casspi forgot how to play basketball, and Gordon went all “what Eric Gordon was paid to do” on the Rockets and dropped 22 points on Harden and the Rockets in the first half. This is what I tweeted after the first 20 minutes:
#Rockets recap through 20 minutes: UGLY
— House Of Houston (@HouseOfHouston) January 16, 2014
How ugly? Donatas Motiejunas was forced into the game and put up the only plus in the +/- category at +4 in 9 minutes. No disrespect to D-Mo as he played pretty well, but that should never happen in ANY Rockets game. It was an ugly first half but the Rockets actually put together a small run late in the second quarter to keep the Pelicans within 11 points.
I feel like it’s these types of games are where our co-editor Marcus Chavez smiles and says, “That’s why I’m okay if Harden is traded.” Harden finished with 26 points on the night, but his counterpart Gordon finished with 35 points of his own. Yes Harden, you should try and play defense every once in a while. Welp. A win is a win I guess…
If anyone can think of a good punchline to this potential joke, leave it in the comments.
Checking in for HOU: A Dominican, An Israeli, A Taiwanese-American, An African-American from PDX and Chandler Parsons. Love this game.
— Kevin Arnovitz (@kevinarnovitz) January 16, 2014
The Rockets finally head home to face the Oklahoma City Thunder tomorrow night. Tipoff is scheduled for 8:30 PM and the game can be seen on TNT.