Eric Gordon hit a buzzer beating corner three to beat the Philadelphia 76ers in a 105-104 victory.
The game embodied a pendulum as it kept going back and forth, but the Rockets were able to come out on top in the end.
Houston was without Trevor Ariza, Nene, and Chris Paul due to injuries but that did not seem to matter tonight. Eric Gordon, James Harden, and Clint Capela picked up the load and did just enough to beat Philadelphia.
The Rockets were trailing for the entire second half, but brought it to within two points with less than 30 seconds after a James Harden lay-up was reviewed as a goaltend by Joel Embiid. Harden made the free throw and got a game-saving block on the ensuing possession on Jerryd Bayless.
After Eric Gordon inbounded the final possession to Ryan Anderson, the ball went to The Beard and it looked like he would try to find a way to drive to the bucket.
Instead, he’s able to dump off the basketball to EG in the corner, we see a pump fake from Gordon, resets, and fires.
Ball is in the air...
Rockets get their eighth straight win against the Sixers.
If you did not watch this game and just looked at the box score however, you would be baffled by the result of the game.
The Sixers’ strategy was to swarm James Harden, and it worked. Harden committed eight turnovers, by far his season-high and the team committed 19 turnovers overall.
Houston was trailing most of the first half, but squeaked out a two-point lead right before halftime at 56-54. The team shot the three ball effectively in the first half, going 7-16 from beyond the arc. They were not as sharp on their long balls in the second half however, going 5-23 from deep. However, the final shot of the night was a make, and that is what mattered.
Capela might have been the most effective Rocket on the floor tonight. He was a monster on the boards, grabbing 20, and he posted 16 points for another double-double. Eric Gordon scored a team-high 29 points, and could not get his three-point shot on tonight, shooting 5-16, but the last shot went in, so does it really matter?
Harden was unable to take care of the ball tonight, but 27 points and 13 assists is not a terrible stat. However, the 19 turnovers killed Houston tonight. This is a lot of what we saw of Harden before the D’Antoni era. The thin depth could be part of the reasoning behind that, but Harden needs to center himself back to what makes him a great player rather than a very good player: his passing.
A lot of why Harden was so off his game tonight was TJ McConnell’s impeccable defense. The undrafted Arizona Wildcat recorded six steals off the bench. Yes, six! McConnell’s bizarre stat line ended in six points, six rebounds, nine assists to go with his game-leading six steals.
McConnell’s defense was spectacular, but the most eye-catching stat line in the Sixer box score was J.J. Redick’s plus/minus: Redick was a +23 and cemented himself as a lethal Rocket killer.
Redick led his team in scoring with 22 points, but the team was very balanced in their offensive attack. Former Rocket Robert Covington looked stellar, scoring 20 points and Embiid flashed his potential with 21 points.
The Rockets played pretty poorly tonight. The Sixers really exposed the small bench and they were able to jar the ball loose so many times tonight. Houston had no business winning this game, or even keeping this competitive for that matter.
But they still got the job done.
This shows us that the Rockets are going to have their ugly nights, their off nights, their struggles, but the team can still pull out W’s when they need to. If Houston plays like they did tonight in ten games, they probably win one of those games. Tonight was that one win.
Houston needs to thank their lucky stars, kiss the bald head of their Three Point champ for bailing them out, and learn from this and get better. Luckily it is October 25 and the team played the Sixers who are likely a lottery eastern conference team. When the Rockets play the west, this won’t fly.
But hey, no matter how ugly, the Rockets got the dub, and the ending was pretty cool, right?
Here’s the final shot with Titanic music, courtesy of @TitanicHoops.