The Houston Rockets’ dismal 4-7 start that featured way too much lifeless, and often embarrassing, effort, cost Kevin McHale his job. In the first game of the post-McHale era against the scuffling Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night, it looked like it was just going to be more of the same.
The Rockets trailed by 15 points heading into the fourth quarter, and they easily could’ve packed it in like they had too often this season. But that didn’t happen.
Houston fought back behind James Harden and Corey Brewer, and although it seemed like a seven-point deficit with a minute to go would be too much to overcome, the fight didn’t stop. Harden scored seven straight for the Rockets and came up with two big steals, which gave them the chance to tie the game at the end of regulation:
Brewer sure has a knack for coming up big when things look the most dire (think back to last year in the playoffs against the Los Angeles Clippers). Also, the Blazers totally botched this and the final minute in general, but the Rockets deserve plenty of credit for fighting with their backs against the wall.
Harden then took over the game in overtime, scoring all nine of Houston’s points in the extra frame. The Beard finished with 45 points, 11 assists, eight rebounds and five steals:
Harden had 45p, 11a, 8r, and 5 steals, the first player to have those numbers since steals became an official stat in 73-74, per Elias.
— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) November 19, 2015
So for at least one night, the Rockets and interim head coach J.B. Bickerstaff can smile after a hard-fought win. Now to figure out what the heck is wrong with Ty Lawson. And maybe Houston can start making some jumpers on a semi-regular basis.