The third quarter seemed to be going the way of the other two third quarters in Los Angeles. The season was all but over in most aspects. Kevin McHale put James Harden on the bench down 19 points.
The Houston Rockets then finished the game on a 49-18 run to force a Game 7 Sunday in Houston by defeating the Los Angeles Clippers, 119-107.
There was no reason to think this was going to much of a game in the end. It really wasn't. The Rockets outplayed the Clippers so badly down the stretch. They got every loose ball, they hit all the shots, their defensive rotations were on point, their team defense was fantastic, their ball movement was crisp and this was done with James Harden sitting on the bench!
Harden was the runne- up in the MVP voting this season and he was on the bench in the biggest game for the Rockets in the last 20 years.
Josh Smith was absolutely huge tonight. There is no way to downplay it. He was what sparked the comeback. Corey Brewer, Jason Terry, Trevor Ariza and Dwight Howard all fed off it.
As our own Ethan Rothstein texted me just before the end of the game, "Dude, Corey Brewer, Jason Terry, Josh Smith are lovable rogues."
They are, and those three beating Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, J.J. Redick and company in the fourth quarter to force the Game 7 makes this even more exciting. Is this real life?
It can't be, because last Sunday I was certain the Rockets season was over. The team had quit and there was nothing they could do to salvage this train wreck. Instead they'll be playing Game 7 at home a week after losing Game 4 by 33 points.
You could see the Rockets were ready to fight despite falling in an early hole in the second quarter.
I thought it got serious when Howard got a technical for shoving DeAndre Jordan. McHale yanked Howard right there and has he was walking to the bench, Terry got on him and didn't let up. After that moment Howard's focus was on point.
Howard had 20 points and 21 rebounds, Harden had 23 points in three quarters of action, Smith had 19 points, Brewer had 19 points and 10 rebounds. The Rockets only had nine turnovers for the game as well.
Time and channel hasn't been announced yet for Game 7 yet. We'll let you know as soon it has been announced.