Just two weeks after blowing a huge 22-point lead and suffering a loss at the hands of some controversy and the San Antonio Spurs, the Houston Rockets completely flipped the script in tonight’s rematch, coming back from 25 points down to defeat San Antonio 109-107.
This was the largest comeback in team history, as Houston has never before come from 25 or more down to win a game. The previous best was 23 points way back in 1977.
Tonight was the largest deficit that a Rockets team has overcome in a win. The biggest deficit Houston overcame in a win in franchise history was 23 vs. Portland on 1/22/77 #OneMission— Cayleigh Griffin (@cayleighgriffin) December 17, 2019
The Rockets were led by Russell Westbrook, who finished with 31 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 assists, and he scored 25 of those points in the first half, in which he was the only thing keeping the Rockets afloat.
They gave up 72 points and 57 percent shooting before the break, looking just as sluggish and a step slow as they did in the previous loss to the Detroit Pistons. And the offense wasn’t much better, as the Rockets shot 39 percent from the field in the first half.
It was a totally different story in the second half, however, as the Rockets came out focused and with a defensive intensity that was missing earlier. They closed off the paint and closed out on shooters, holding the Spurs to just 35 total second-half points and 28 percent shooting.
The Rockets began moving the ball, and James Harden, who had an ugly first-half, began to look more himself. The Beard finished with 28 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists, though he shot 10-29 tonight. But he hit a massive three to tie the game at 97 apiece with 5:30 remaining, which was the shot that brought the Rockets all the way back from the 25-point deficit.
Houston also got another big night from Ben McLemore, who finished with 17 points on 6-11 shooting overall and 4-9 from deep, including several big shots down the stretch. Clint Capela also showed up big time, with 15 points, 15 rebounds, 5 assists (yes, 5 assists!) and 3 blocks. P.J. Tucker pitched in 9 points and 12 boards.
The Spurs were led by LaMarcus Aldridge, who finished with 19 points and 14 boards, and they also got 18 from Bryn Forbes, who couldn’t miss in the first half, 16 each from Derrick White and Dejounte Murray, who also played tough defense on The Beard, and 12 each from DeMar DeRozan and Rudy Gay.
The Rockets have officially exercised their demons from earlier this month, and hopefully the composed second half of basketball can be a springboard into some more consistent play as we head into the new year.
Houston is now 18-9 on the year and will now be off for two nights before getting back in action on Thursday against the Los Angeles Clippers.