The Cavaliers might have won the first quarter 34-29, but the first 12 minutes of the game belonged to John Wall.
Wall played all 12 minutes of the first, leading all players in the quarter with 17 points on 5-8 shooting from the field, 1-1 from deep. Wall was extremely aggressive, attacking the basket ever chance he could, leading to 6-8 shooting from the free-throw line.
As a team, the Rockets started the game shooting much better than their matchup against the Memphis Grizzlies — though that’s not saying a lot. Houston shot 3-6 from the outside in the first. Still, they needed a much bigger contribution from anyone outside of Wall, going down by as much as 11 before closing the gap late.
The second quarter had a flash of deja vu for Houston. Early in the quarter, they went down by 10. In typical fashion, they cut the lead down to four, but then allowed the Cavs to go back up by as much as eight. Still, the team remained resilient and overcame the deficit and ever got the lead several times.
After a dud of an outing last game, John Wall stepped up big in the first half, playing 20 of 24 possible minutes and scoring 23 points on 8-16 shooting from the field. Victor Oladipo also come to play, staying in the first half for 20 minutes for 13 points on 5-10 shooting, 1-1 from deep.
This quarter was — dare I say — actually fun to watch. For once, it felt like this team had a ton of confidence and momentum. The period was capped off with this great sequence from Wall to Jae’Sean Tate.
sequence from Wall & Tate! pic.twitter.com/rQLeYH9v61— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) March 2, 2021
The first half of the match wasn’t all good news for Houston. Both Danuel House Jr. (knee contusion) and Oladipo left the court with apparent injuries. Oladipo would go on to start the second half, but House was listed as questionable to return and would eventually be out for the game.
The Rockets went into the half down 51-50.
Neither team could really get anything going in the third quarter.
The Cavaliers shot 3-8 from deep, while Houston knocked down three of their 10 attempts from outside in the period.
Cleveland had plenty of opportunities to pull away with John Wall cooling off, getting the lead up to seven on multiple occasions, but Houston continued to battle and stay in the game.
Despite only scoring 20 points in the quarter, the Rockets were able to go into the fourth down only 74-70, thanks to holding the Cavs to only 23 points, and especially thanks to this Mason Jones circus shot to close the quarter.
I’ve definitely done this the past couple of games that I’ve covered, and I’m not going to stop now. I’ll spare you the details and just jump to the part where the game got out of hand for Houston, and they went down by as much as 12 in the fourth quarter.
The Rockets had absolutely no answer for Collin Sexton all game, who buried them for 39 points and eight assists on 12-20 shooting from the field, 4-8 from deep. Jarrett Allen casually had 10 points, 15 rebounds, and two blocks on 5-7 shooting. Darius Garland shored up the Cavaliers offense with 14 points and seven assists.
For Houston, John Wall led the team in scoring on a season-high 32 points to go along with five assists on 11/24 shooting in 39 minutes of play. OIadipo scored 20 points and had three assists and three rebounds.
There wasn’t much else to report on the Rockets offense, but P.J. Tucker did have this awesome layup.
This game might have resulted in another Rockets loss, but they did show a completely different side of themselves during this losing streak, especially considering this was one of the most short-handed games they had all season. The team fought hard all match, and their stars contributed heavily to try to put them in the best position to win. Unfortunately, they just needed more bodies on the floor if they wanted a chance at a victory.
Things do not get any easier on Wednesday night — both in basketball and in emotions — with James Harden and the white-hot Brooklyn Nets visiting Houston. Prepare yourselves, folks: the time has finally come.