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The Thunder shocked the Toyota Center crowd Thurdsay defeating Houston 104-92. The Rockets had build a 14 point lead but only managed 19 second half points. Terrance Jones and James Harden led the way with 16 a piece.
The Rockets put on a show Thursday night in Toyota Center. Too bad the fat lady sang at half time and Houston went to sleep. Houston had a commanding 73-59 lead at the half that included hitting 12 of 20 from behind the arc. The three point shooting that had eluded them in the past games were gone. Simply put, the Rockets were running and gunning — on national TV no less.
So how did Houston manage this collapsing 104-92 loss?
Here's a couple thoughts on the game:
A tale of two halves for the Rockets — This game encompasses the Rockets season to this point. In the first half Houston shot 57 percent from the field, had five turnovers and 27 points from the bench. Most of the damage came in the secone quarter where the Rockets caught fire and exploded offensively. The 73 first half points are the most Houston has scored in a half this season. The bad news — Houston scored 19 points in the second half. Per TNT stats, Houston is only the second team in NBA history with 70 plus points in a first half and 25 or fewer points in the second half. The last team to do it — the Seattle Sonics on Dec. 21, 2001. The basketball gods had a good time with this one.
Live by the three, Die by the three — Cliche, I know, but it bares repeating. In the second quarter Houston made nine 3-pointers but couldn't make one in the third, missing all six. The Thunder came out in the third quarter playing better defense and contributed to the stagnant Houston offense. The open 3-point shots in the first half were gone. The solution to this problem is Dwight Howard. When Houston can't hit an outside shot, all they have do to is dump it down him. The Rockets did it at the start of the fourth quarter. He got the ball on two of the first three Rockets possesions and some quick footwork led to two easy baskets. Foul trouble would put him on the bench shortly afterwards. Speaking of which, the Rockets bench only mustered two points in teh second half.
Jeremy Lin: (4) 6 points
*Lin didn't have his best game. He only attempted eght shots and for the Rockets to be effective he needs at least 12-14 shots — preferably layups. Lin lacked the aggressiveness to drive to the basket and Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins' presence is a big reason for that.
James Harden: (6) 16 points 8 assists 7 rebounds
*The Thunder have Harden's number and the Rockets for that matter. Harden never established himself in the game and when it came time to take over, he couldn't. No team defends Harden as well as the Thunder do and it shows every time these two teams play. Despite that, he close to a triple double.
Chandler Parsons: (6) 14 points and 4 rebounds
* Parsons had a tough assignment trying to stop Kevin Durant and his job was admirable but the Durantula is on another level. However, who knows how many Durant would have had if Parsons wasn't guarding him.
Terrance Jones: (7) 16 points 13 rebounds
*Jones follows up his 25-point career game with another great showing this time on national television. One thing I've noticed. It seems the Rockets are comfortable letting Jones bring the ball up the court. He won't run the offense but it's always good to have another ball handler on the court.
Dwight Howard: (5) 11 points 8 rebounds
*Howard never got in rhythm of the game. He was constantly in foul trouble so that might have somethign to do with it. He started rolling in the fourth, scoring four points on the Rockets first three posessions. But again, foul trouble sent him to the bench and with went the Rockets offense in that quarter. Howard sat with 10:18 in the game, and the Rockets wouldn't score until the six minute mark.
Bench: (7) Better production from the bench in tonight's game as Donatas Motiejunas, Aaron Brooks and Franciso Garcia combined to score 29. Most of the damage comign in the first half. D-Mo was effective on the glass as well collecting seven rebounds and going 3 of 4 from behind the arc. Before tonight, he had missed hist last 14 attempts and was 2-22 on the season. To quote NBA Analyst Steve Kerr "how has this guy not played this season."
So there you have it Dream Shakers...another devastating loss in national television. Rockets better learn from this cause too many games of this calber can break a team.
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