Tonight the Rockets faced a familiar foe, familiar as of Wednesday, before turkey, before, for some, shopping madness. The Detroit Pistons now host the Rockets for the final game of the series between the two teams in this NBA season.
The Pistons started hot, looking for revenge, or something. The Rockets looked sloppy, sleepy and full of Thanksgiving. Blake Griffin decided to impersonate Steph Curry as part of his burgeoning stage career. The complaining part he has down pat, but the shooting is scary.
Detroit had the energy, Houston had Harden. The Rockets took a brief lead, before looking terrible to end the quarter giving up 34 points to the Pistons.
Rockets started a largely bench unit, but the presence of Clint Capela changes the game against a team with good bigs like Detroit, as Clint operated nearly unstoppably in the paint to start the quarter.
Detroit took a lead fueled by Rockets defensive problems and unlikely Detroit shooting, and a whistle that seemingly blew on every Detroit possession. Really creaky reffing saw Detroit shoot 18FTs in the first half, and the half ended 61 - 56 in favor of Detroit with two Harden baskets erased with, let’s say, close calls, on shot blocks by Andre Drumond.
Half-time Notes: Dwayne Casey teams have recently been a problem for the Rockets. I was happy to get the win on Wednesday. We’ll see if the Rockets can manage a season sweep. Did I mention that I really don’t like this Home & Home stuff?
Detroit came out amped again, taking their lead from five to ten before Mike D’Antoni called a timeout. From that point things got a bit worse before the Rockets appeared to wake up and narrowed a 12 point gap to 4, with 3:15 remaining in the quarter.
Clint Capela has shown he belongs in company with the most elite centers in the NBA, scoring 25 with 15 rebounds to this point. Andre Drummond has been no slouch either, going for 22 and 15, so apparently Drummond’s strength overcomes Capela’s speed on offense, whereas Capela’s springs and soft shots destroys Drummond in close.
The quarter ended with the score 79-78 in the Rockets favor as Chris Paul scored 5 points in 10 seconds, scoring over Drummond (who never fouls, evidently) and then nailing a near half-court three.
Rockets came out strong after their defense held Detroit to 17 points in the third quarter. The Rockets came out looking more sprightly than they had all game, with Chris Paul continuing to lead the way, and good defense from Gary Clark. Detroit, however, continued to enjoy a suspiciously soft whistle, entering the bonus with 8:40 remaining. That’s correct, 8:40.
The Rockets took a five point lead which Detroit tied behind a barrage of FTs. The Rockets found themselves largely unable to make shots, apart from Harden and Paul, and with a Detroit timeout at 3:31 the Rockets lead by only one at 90-89.
A weird quarter saw Detroit take the lead on Bruce Brown FTs, but James Harden answered to give the Rockets a 96-95 lead with 19.8 seconds left, for a surprisingly dramatic finish to an ugly game.
Blake Griffin, with time running out, made a 3pt shot over Clint Capela to give Detroit a 98-96 lead with and all looked grim with 2.6 seconds left.
But wait! Eric Gordon made a clutch layup that rolled in with .10 seconds left. And onward to overtime.
A game that with decent shooting wouldn’t have been close headed to overtime. The overtime went poorly, with Detroit making shots, and getting foul calls on every miss.
The game ended with Detroit winning 116-111 in a game full of bad shooting by the Rockets, bad first half defense, and a, let’s call it, strange, whistle through out.
Detroit’s free throw advantage was 40-21 despite the Rockets driving approximately as much.
Note: If I never have to listen to Detroits announcing crew whine about every single call for their opponent ever again in my life, that’ll be fine. Cranky old man whining at its finest. People may think Houston’s announcers are homers, but that was truly shameless. An HoF Whining Performance.
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You Can Never Blame Officiating, No Matter How Dodgy
The Dallas Mavericks