HOUSTON (CBS Houston): Second halves of back-to-backs can be very hard in the NBA, especially when it involves overtime and travel.
The Rockets, coming off an OT win in Denver the night before, ran out of gas in the 4th quarter, falling to the New Orleans Pelicans 99-90 at Toyota Center.
On a night where the Rockets struggled to find their shot all night, shooting only 38% from the field for the game (24% from 3pt range), they still managed to find a way to have a 3 point lead entering the 4th quarter despite trailing by as many as 10 in the 3rd. However, that’s when everything unraveled.
The Rockets were outscored 34-22 in the final quarter. They missed easy and open shots all night, often right at the rim. They looked like a team with tired legs.
The Rockets also had no answer for Anthony Davis, who led all scorers with 30 points to go along with 14 rebounds and 5 blocks. Davis intimidated Rockets shooters all game, and Coach Kevin McHale said that he thought his players were “looking for (Davis)” instead of going up strong and finishing.
James Harden said they fought hard all night but “it was just one of those days” where the team “couldn’t get their legs”.
The team didn’t land in Houston until 4am Thursday morning following Wednesday night’s late OT victory over the Nuggets in Denver.
Following the game, McHale was clearly frustrated with his team’s performance. When asked what the team could have done better, McHale snarled, “We can make some more layups.” The Rockets missed 5 layups in the 4th quarter alone, and 20 total shots from less that 5 feet, including a finger-roll from Harden that barely drew the front iron and a missed dunk by Howard. Howard was the biggest culprit, missing 4 total layups and a 3 footer among his 8 misfires.
After the game, Howard said his right shoulder, in which he suffered a torn labrum in January of 2013, was giving him trouble. “My shoulder is bothering me a little bit, the same shoulder that I tore a year ago.” He said he didn’t believe it was serious, that it was only a strain, and that he and the team will “see how it feels (Friday).”
News and Notes:
The Rockets will have tomorrow off. They host the Atlanta Hawks Saturday night.
Dwight Howard moved into 25th place all time on the NBA blocked shots list, passing Kevin McHale.
Donatas Motiejunas was sporting a black eye after the game. He was poked in the eye early in the game, and said it bothered him the entire game. He doesn’t expect to miss any time.
Troy Daniels, who had been struggling with his shot all season, scored 9 pts on 3-4 shooting, all 3-pointers.
After missing 5 games with a knee injury, F Kostas Papanikolaou returned. He had 4 points, 2 boards and 4 assists in 23 minutes.