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Game 15 Recap: The Sleeper Must Awaken; Rockets Win in Overtime 90-88

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Individual games in basketball are sort of like individual shots: you can confidently predict the outcome based on circumstances, but that doesn't mean you'll always be right. The Rockets came into this game the obvious favorites. On a four-game winning streak largely claimed against teams like the Hornets (bad ones), the Rockets were probably going to win.

And, after the first two quarters, I don't think anyone would begrudge the prediction that the Rockets would win handily: Kevin Martin was playing a phenomenal game, Kyle Lowry was distributing the ball well enough, and while the Hornets were still very much in the game, they seemed to score mostly midrange shots (something largely unsustainable). Oh, sure, the seeds were there for an eventual collapse (the Rockets weren't going to shoot 50% from behind the three point line forever, the defense wasn't really there, and the bench still sucked), but whatever. And, after the third quarter, after Kevin Martin cooled off and nothing was falling for anyone, the outlook didn't seem much different.

Fate, of course, is a bitch goddess, so the Rockets naturally put together a horrific 7-point fourth quarter in which seemingly no one went inside either frequently or with great success. The Hornets stormed back (as much as a 19-point quarter constitutes "storming") and tied the game, Lowry missed on a final shot to win the game, and the entire crowd and home audiences were "treated" to another "exciting" period of "basketball."

Okay, that's harsh. But it was ugly.

The overtime period didn't start out well -- the Hornets hit a few shots while the Rockets only got a Courtney Lee free throw in there to get themselves going. But, down the stretch, it was Samuel Dalembert who won them the game, dunking home a running miss from Kevin Martin and getting the and-1, and then doing the same (minus the foul) with only eleven seconds in the game to go. A long-two Belinelli jump-shot rattled in and out, the game was over, and Dalembert fell to the floor like Mutombo after the Nuggets upset the Sonics, though this time more out of relief and need for immediate medical attention than abject joy, I'm sure.

Quality games from both Kevin Martin (shot extraordinarily well in the first half, not so much in the second, still ended up with 32 points and 8 rebounds, though as Kevin McHale pointed out, there were many rebounds to be had) and Dalembert (arguably shot too much, but whatever -- 15 points and 17 rebounds), who played the last quarter and overtime after he turned his ankle, which was good because Jeff Adrien was the backup after Patterson/Scola tonight. Also a good game for Courtney Lee, who still looks a little bad on that ankle but still contributed 17 points and 3 important steals.

So-so game for Lowry, who turned the ball over way too much (7 times!) and didn't shoot well, but still managed eight assists and nine boards. Glad he didn't get a triple-double that way, since his overall play wasn't so great. They should come in great games, not bad ones.

Scola got a lot of heat in the game's thread, and while this wasn't his best effort and he was destroyed on defense as the game went on, he shot better than most of the team. Maybe you think that's because he refused to shoot it. Well, he did. But if your shot isn't going then you probably shouldn't force it Jamal Crawford-style. Still, very poor on the boards (4 rebounds in such an inaccurate game...) and he turned it over five times. Not good.

The bench otherwise really stunk. Patterson is clearly still hurting. Dragic couldn't get anything going. Budinger at least managed to grab five rebounds, which was five more than Patterson.

A win is a win is a win who cares?