Houston (CBS HOUSTON) – A night after squandering a 20 point lead with eight minutes left, the Houston Rockets did the inverse Friday night.
Down eight points against the Chicago Bulls with a little over four minutes left in the game, the Rockets ended up finding a way to get back into the game as they pulled out a 121-117 win in overtime.
Hours earlier with Atlanta Hawks in town the Rockets let Tim Hardaway Jr. get free and he went bananas scoring 23 points in the fourth. The Rockets not wanting to have that happen again, locked down defensively to close out the fourth.
“Defense definitely picked up, James (Harden) hit some great shots, everybody did something,” Mike D’Antoni said.
One of those somethings was a turnover that Trevor Ariza forced to keep the Bulls from winning the game and send the Rockets into overtime.
“Trevor (Ariza) did an unbelievable job on (Dwyane) Wade the last few minutes,” D’Antoni said. “Guys kept battling, we found a way.”
Once in overtime, James Harden took over the game as he was responsible for eight of the Rockets 13 points in overtime.
While Harden scored 42 points and came an assist shy of a triple-double finishing the night with 12 rebounds and 9 assists, the Rockets star touted the defense as the key reason for the win,
“We just relied on our defense,” James Harden said. “Our defense won us that game, we got stops and we got some shots to fall, but that’s what it’s going to be, we can’t make 50 three’s every night like we want to, we got to find other ways to win and tonight was one of those ways.”
With the win, the Rockets can now enjoy their first three-day break of the entire season. They won’t play again until Tuesday when the Orlando Magic come to town.