Coming off a huge 121-102 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Valentine’s Day at Toyota Center, the Rockets had to get through just one more game before taking off for the NBA All-Star break. For the second consecutive year, nobody with the Rockets will participate in the All-Star Game, but they wanted to enjoy a victory against the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday before they spent time away from the court. The Rockets fall to a 26-31 record as they lose to the 76ers, 114-105, at Toyota Center.
De-fense chants by fans at the game couldn’t help the Rockets limit the scoring by eight different 76ers players. Of the eight players that scored for Philadelphia, seven put up double-digit points.
Point guard Jrue Holiday led the 76ers with 20 points and eight assists. Both Lou Williams and Thaddeus Young came off the bench to score 19 a piece. Forward Andre Iguodala fell just shy of a triple double as he put up 13 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists. Two other starters also posted double-doubles. Center Spencer Hawes finished the game with 17 points and 10 rebounds, and forward Elton Brand had 10 points and 11 rebounds. Evan Turner came off te bench to add 10 points and six rebounds. Marreese Speights had six points.
The 76ers shot 55.2 percent and seemed to hit buckets from anywhere they wanted. The Rockets defense has struggled all season, but the reason for their defensive woes has not been decided.
“We have to get back on defense,” said point guard Kyle Lowry. “We let them do too much.”
Chuck Hayes (6-6, 238) is a foot shorter than Yao Ming but is the Rockets’ answer for the center position right now. The 76ers have Hawes (7-1, 245) at center as well as big forwards and guards. The Rockets are definitely beaten in the size department, but size shouldn’t be the blame for their big mistakes on the defensive end.
“It’s a want-to, a will thing, a concentration thing,” Lowry said about his team’s defense. “Some games we look awesome defensively, and some game we don’t. A team like that only averages 99 points, I don’t know how they got (114 points). We shouldn’t allow that.”
Through the first half, Rockets point guard Kyle Lowry lead both teams in scoring with 19 points. Lowry was five of five from beyond the 3-point line in the first half. He finished the game with the best offensive performance of his career with 36 points.
Unfortunately for Lowry, his career day happened during a Rockets loss to the 76ers, another team with a losing record (27-29).
“I really don’t care about the individual stats,” Lowry said. “I just want to win the game.”
The 76ers have now won four straight in Houston.