Despite struggling all night long, the Rockets looked like they were on cruise control up nine points with five minutes to go. However, an 11-0 Pistons run had the Rockets ice cold. Without an Andre Drummond goaltend on a P.J. Tucker putback, the Rockets would have lost the game in regulation. In overtime, the Rockets steamrolled and were able to snag the win.
With the win, the Rockets improved to 2-0 in overtime games this season, the other being the double overtime thriller on New Year’s Eve against the Lakers where James Harden strained his hamstring. Speaking of Harden, his 10 overtime points were crucial to the team’s victory and he added a spark that the team lacked in regulation.
Harden had an off night making just four of his 20 shots, resulting in 21 points. Eric Gordon, who started for an injured Chris Paul, had the team-high in points with 22. Gordon was the lone bright spot on a team that struggled mightily on the offensive end all evening long. The team managed to shoot just 35.4 percent from the floor, but fortunately for the Rockets, the Pistons struggled just as much.
The visiting Pistons made just six threes in 38 attempts, and made just two of their first 28 triples. Blake Griffin’s triple-double and Drummond’s 17 points and 20 boards kept the Pistons in it and exposed a potential weakness in the Rockets’ lineup.
Other than Clint Capela, the Rockets do not have any other bigs in the rotation since Nene and Tarik Black have disappeared. Tucker plays the five in the “Tuckwagon” bench lineup and the team lacks size and a height advantage against teams with more traditional bigs like Detroit, New Orleans, and Toronto. If the Rockets are looking to chase the Warriors, a team without a traditional big, this is not a huge issue, but if the Pelicans or Raptors come up in the playoffs, it could pose as a problem.
The win for the Rockets is their 58th on the season, which ties a franchise record with 10 games to go. The record for wins in a season is held by the 1993-94 Rockets, the first championship team. Will history repeat itself for this team?
The Rockets are fortunate enough to have a team that gets wins on nights where the team does not play well and can still benefit from a win while also learning a lot in the process. They may not get as lucky every night though, so it is important to bounce back strong. The team gets that opportunity Saturday as the Pelicans come to town. Tipoff is at 7 PM CT.