The Houston Rockets finally woke up! Kevin McHale made a switch in the staring lineup by replacing the struggling Terrence Jones with the struggling Josh Smith, but it provided the team with the right spark of energy. The Rockets forced a game six by defeating the Los Angeles Clippers, 124-103.
Big ups to McHale for doing a move that most of us might not have considered doing. I think a lot of us would have looked at putting in Corey Brewer (he's not had the greatest of series either) at SF position and made Ariza the stretch four? I don't know.
I know I would have considered putting Smith on the bench more over starting him. That's why he's a coach in the NBA, I'm a blogger and you're the reader.
We finally got the James Harden we've been dying to see all series. He was getting into the lane, finishing, getting to the line, breaking J.J. Redick down off the dribble to convert some shots in the mid-range. He didn't completely rely on ISO top of the key offense, he moved the ball, he moved, got the ball back in a different position on the floor and took advantage. The Clippers didn't have an answer.
He got a late rebound in garbage time to get him his first triple-double of the series.
The Clippers also didn't have an answer for the energy that Dwight Howard brought tonight. He won the battle against DeAndre Jordan. He got Jordan into foul trouble early and the Clippers were never able to recover.
Howard was able to take advantage of the smaller Glen Davis to get some big early offensive rebounds and putbacks.
The defense on the Clippers role players was also huge. Austin Rivers, Redick and Matt Barnes had been a thorn in the Rockets defense the whole series. The Rockets held them to a combined 22 points tonight. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin did their normal thing, but the role players did not hurt the Rockets this time. That is a huge victory.
The Clippers only shot 26 percent from three point land tonight, much lower than what they have shot the rest of the series.
Brewer, Jones and Clint Capela combined for 35 points off the bench tonight. Ariza had 22 points, eight boards and three steals, not to mention being the Trevor Ariza we all know and love.
Even Josh Smith put in an efficient nine points.
Game six in on Thursday night at 9:30 p.m. CST on ESPN. Hoping this Rockets team that shot 54 percent travels to Los Angeles that night.