James Harden continued to roll, going for 58 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 assists, but the Rockets couldn’t get stops, and they blew an 8-point lead with 90 seconds left in regulation and then blew a 7-point lead with 80 seconds left in overtime to fall to the Brooklyn Nets 145-142.
It looked like Harden’s heroics were going to be enough to snatch this game for the Rockets, and he even grabbed a clutch offensive rebound off of two straight missed P.J. Tucker free throws that looked like it could be the clincher. But Spencer Dinwiddie hit 3 threes in the final 27 seconds of regulation to tie it, and he was unstoppable in overtime as well.
Dinwiddie finished with 33 points and 10 assists and ultimately out-dueled an obviously exhausted James Harden to close out the game.
In addition to Harden’s big night, the Rockets also got 20 points and 10 rebounds from P.J. Tucker, 20 from Eric Gordon, who left with a sore knee in his first game back from injury, and they also got 15 from Gerald Green and 13 from Austin Rivers, who was cold most of the game before finally coming alive late.
It wasn’t the offense that was Houston’s issue, however. Without Clint Capela, the Rockets had no inside defensive presence whatsoever, and the Nets took advantage to the tune of 51 percent shooting from the field and a whopping 74 points in the paint. Nene had 7 points, 4 boards, and a block for the Rockets, but he played just 16 minutes of action, and this is going to be an ongoing issue until Capela returns.
The Rockets countered Brooklyn’s prowess in the paint with their patented long ball, putting up a new NBA record with 70 three-point shots (hitting 23). The two teams combined for 106 attempted threes, also an NBA record.
As for the Nets, in addition to Dinwiddie, they got 22 points from DeMarre Carroll, 20 points, 24 boards, and 3 blocks from Jarrett Allen, 21 from Treveon Graham, 17 from Joe Harris, and 14 from Rodions Kurucs.
The Rockets fall to 25-19 on the season and will return to action Saturday at home against the Lakers, where they might be without EG again, depending on how badly he re-injured his knee. And of course, Capela and CP3 are out until further notice, so Harden might need to score 60-plus for Houston to bring home a win.