Houston (SPORTSRADIO 610) – The Rockets opened up the first quarter of Monday night’s game against the Heat with a slow defensive effort allowing 33 points. After 15 lead changes, the Rockets would take charge in the fourth quarter and win by a final of 99-90. Head Coach Mike D’Antoni felt like Saturday’s big win over the Warriors might have led to them starting a little flat.
“After the initial hit, the 33 points we took from them, I thought our defense really stepped up… Kind of thought it could be that way. We get an emotional victory on Saturday, and then to get going we just didn’t come out of the gates very well,” Mike said. “Never really got into a groove.”
James Harden led the way with 28 points. However, when it came down to the final plays in the fourth quarter he stepped aside and let new teammate Chris Paul come up in the clutch. Chris drained an 18-foot jump shot to put the Rockets up by five with just 39.7 seconds to play.
“I had an opportunity the previous play and I missed the shot,” Harden said. “He got to his spot, rose up and knocked it down.”
There were no hard feelings to be found. Ultimately it came down to James urging Chris to take the ball. Chris also credited James for setting him up.
“It’s cool because we know each other too. I was about to set a ball screen for him, or something like that, and he was like ‘get to your sweet spot, get to your sweet spot’. And we both know we like the ball right there in the mid-post, so it’s cool. If I got, I got. If not, he got it,” Paul said.