Chandler Parson has a great game against the toughest cover in the NBA.
That's not quite what happened, though. The crazy fourth quarter clock tells an interesting story.
With 7:00 minutes left the Rockets lead 87-86
With 6:00 minutes left the Thunder lead 93-89
With 4:00 minutes left the Thunder lead 100-91
With 2:00 minutes left the Thunder lead 103-93
With 1:00 minute left the Thunder lead 102-98 (2 OKC points were erased for a shot clock violation)
With :30 seconds left the Thunder lead 103-101
With :15 seconds left, the Rockets lead 104-103
Rockets win 104-103
It was a close game until the final six minutes. The Thunder looked to pull away, turning a narrow Rockets lead to start the 4th into a big Thunder margin. James Harden was going berserk, and the Thunder went up by 11 with about four minutes left. They scored 6 points by running the exact same play three times - double team on Harden and he passes out of it for the easy layup or dunk. So that's what happens when you play the best at home. You can't lose focus for even a minute, or they'll roll over you. Only the Rockets got up from being rolled over and took it to the Thunder. Give Dragic, Lee, Parsons, Patterson and Budinger real credit - they never gave up and played furious defense and offense to win this one. Maybe it will start something good.
It was a tough battle throughout. The Rockets held a slender lead through the first three quarters. Both teams looked flat and tired, through most of the game, but the Rockets showed as slightly more fizzy with crisp passing and intelligent play. The Rockets needed to be at their best.
They needed it with Kyle Lowry still in a New York hospital (get well, come back fully healthy soon!). Kyle was apparently trying to use awful hospital WiFi to catch the streaming gamefeed. Hope he saw some of it, found it somewhere. If not, the ending will be on Sportscenter, no doubt. They needed it with Kevin Martin sidelined with Tradeitis, or a sore shoulder. Or something.
The Rockets furious comeback was simply amazing, a shining example of team defense, unselfish play and clutch shooting. At no point did the Rockets drop into "fouls and threes" mode - they just kept coming at the Thunder. In the end it was enough. This concludes a miserable road trip on a high note. Let's see what tomorrow brings in terms of this roster.
Courtney Lee - He had trouble guarding Harden at times, but he made a a crucial steal on Westbrook that lead to the three that gave the Rockets the lead. 21pts (8-12 shooting), 4 rbs, 1 ast, 3 stl, 1 blk. That might be the line of the night if not for...
Chandler Parsons - 21pts on 9-16 shooting, 7 rbs, 6 ast, 1 stil. Parsons was everywhere, playing good D on Durant, and playing quality offense. He's got a good handle and is always looking for his teammates at the 6 ast attest. Played great D in denying Kevin Durant the game winning shot (and Durant double dribbled too).
I'm splitting the last UP between Budinger and Patterson. Both gave the Rockets quality minutes, and Chase played decent D and hit clutch shots. Patrick Patterson got a last second block off (another) Thunder offensive rebound that sealed the win.
I don't really have any here. The Rockets didn't play a perfect game, but it's hard to complain when you steal a win in what is the toughest arena in the NBA at present.
Well, ok. Kyle Lowry being sick? Scola missing some close shots? Dalembert trying for blocks instead of holding position? I guess you could go with those.
Russell Westbrook - he's an amazing player, and he's still not as good as he thinks he is. His aggression often leads to problems, as was turned over several times in the Rockets furious comebacks. He doesn't seem to understand that his best play late in games is just to get it to Durant. They may be best buddies or whatever, but he apparently still doesn't realize that Durant is the straw that stirs the drink.
Check out Welcome to Loud City for shocked Thunder reaction.