There were no post-season implications as the Houston Rockets played their final contest of the NBA’s seeding games. On Friday, the Rockets dropped their season finale in a 134-96 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers (43-30), inside The Arena in Orlando. With the loss, the Rockets ended the 2019-20 season with a 44-28 record, 4-4 during the restart.
Before the game, Mike D’Antoni credited rhythm as the reason he wanted to play nearly all of his starters in a meaningless match — Eric Gordon more so than anyone else.
In his second game back from injury, Gordon struggled through the first 24 minutes. He missed five of his first six attempts from the field but appeared to have found his rhythm in the third quarter. With the Rockets trailing 71-47 at the half, Gordon scored nine of his 13 points shooting 3-for-4 from behind the arc — as Houston cut their 24-point deficit down to 11 midway through the third period.
James Harden, the one guy who never has to find his rhythm, scored a game-high 27 points (9-16 FG, 4-9 3PT) and dished 10 assists in the loss. Harden only played in 27 minutes, as he sat out all of the fourth quarter.
“That first half, I think we didn’t play well on both ends of the floor. And in the second half, we wanted to come out and get our swag in the third quarter — and I think we did that. We got some great momentum going into the post-season.” — Harden
Jeff Green, who started in place of Danuel House Jr. (rest), assisted Harden in the scoring department. He added 17 points while shooting 80.0% from the floor in 25 minutes.
The 76ers got off to a fast start behind their All-Star center, Joel Embiid. He took advantage of the Rockets’ lack of size scoring seven of his 14 points early in the first quarter.
Houston’s picked up their defense on Embiid, but Philadelphia received a boost from Tobias Harris, who scored 18 points in the win. The 76ers would go on to have eight players who scored in double-figures. Alec Burks added in 16 points off the bench.
“That’s the good thing about our guys. They knew we did not play hard in that first half, and they came out in the second half much better. It is what it is today...don’t mean a whole lot. But we will be ready on Tuesday.” — D’Antoni
Up next, the Rockets will open the first round of the 2020 post-season on Tuesday, against the 44-28 Oklahoma City Thunder. Tip-off is slated for 5:30 p.m. CT.