Houston (CBS HOUSTON) – The Houston Rockets were up 20 points with eight mintues left to play, yet the Atlanta Hawks ended up winning 113-108.
“Defensively we relaxed,” James Harden said. “We were giving up easy backdoor cuts, some easy layups, we just didn’t follow our principles, obviously Tim Hardaway (Jr.) got it going, he got confidence, you give anybody confidence in this league and they can get it going.”
The Rockets took a 13 point lead into the fourth quarter and bumped it up to 20 points, but the Hawks kept chipping away and before you knew it the lead was back down to 14 points. From there on it was the Hardaway Jr. show as he’d go on to score 23 points in the fourth quarter, singlehandedly outscoring the Rockets in the quarter.
“We showed down on our pace, we stopped communicating,” Trevor Ariza said. “(We) allowed them to catch a rhythm.”
The Rockets ended up allowing 40 points in the fourth. For most nights the Rockets would be able to keep pace with teams when they go on runs, but the hot shooting they had just a quarter before when they scored 36 points, left them when they needed it most as they only scored 22 points in the final frame.
“Even when we (aren’t) making shots, we got to do what we did in the first three-quarters and that’s play defense,” Harden said.
While the Rockets will have to move on from this one quickly with the Chicago Bulls in town on Friday, this loss will be something they won’t forget anytime soon.
“This will leave a mark, this is one of those that’s hard to swallow,” Mike D’Antoni said. “At the same time, it is one game, and it is what it is, and we got a game (Friday), we got to find our composer and play (Friday).”