Rockets rally late again, win 121-118

3-pointers from Rockets versus Heat

Tim Warren/Getty Images

The Houston Rockets put their resiliency on display Thursday night as they rallied for the second night in a row to spoil Dwyane Wade's final trip to the Toyota Center with the Miami Heat. Trailing by as much as 21 points in the third, the shorthanded Rockets squad buckled down on defense and let James Harden once again do James Harden things. The result was a come from behind victory, improving their winning streak to four games. The Rockets are now 37-25, remain first in the Southwest Division and fifth in the Western Conference.

Bombs away

In most close games against teams with worse records than the Rockets, it's good practice to seek out their three point percentage as the likely culprit. Usually poor shooting nights from beyond the arc are what allow worse teams to remain competitive, but on Thursday night that was simply not the case. Houston shot 41.6% from behind the line, nailing 19-46. Harden removed doubt that his shooting struggles were anything beyond a stiff neck, burying 8-18 threes after shooting just 1-21 earlier in the week.

Harden goes off

With Eric Gordon, Kenneth Faried, and Iman Shumpert all out with injuries, Harden saw the need for extra offense and brought just that. In a game that featured seven of the nine Heat players that saw minutes reaching double digits scoring figures, the Rockets remained true to their season long tactic of letting Harden tear teams aparts all by himself. Austin Rivers added 17, and Chris Paul and Gary Clark each added 14, but it was Harden's 58 point, 10 assist barrage that carried Houston past Miami Thursday night. It was his sixth 50-point performance of the season, a feat no other player has matched more than once in 2018-2019.

Rough sledding ahead

The Rockets will need to build on the momentum their current four game winning streak has created heading into next week. After a week of near misses against non playoff opponents, Houston faces a slate of matchups against far less forgiving competition next week. Houston travels to Boston to take on the Celtics Sunday afternoon, followed by an away contest against the Toronto Raptors and a home game with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Rockets Player of the Game

James Harden: 58 points, 10 assists, 7 rebounds, 4 steals

Heat Player of the Game

Dwyane Wade: It was his last game in Houston, c'mon.

Up next:

The Rockets take on the Celtics at Boston on Sunday at 2:30 pm central.

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Houston couldn't keep up

Astros fall to Blue Jays as Toronto gets homer-happy

Houston's bats couldn't keep up with Toronto's Saturday night. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

With an offensive clinic in the opener on Friday night, which helped them handily defeat the Blue Jays, the Astros returned to Minute Maid Park Saturday with a chance to secure another series. Toronto had other plans, though, reversing roles with Houston by getting big home runs to even the series.

Final Score: Blue Jays 8, Astros 4

Astros' Record: 17-16, third in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Steven Matz (5-2)

Losing Pitcher: Cristian Javier (3-1)

Toronto flips the script and turns on their offense against Javier

Toronto flipped the script from the night before early in this middle game of the series, dealing damage to Cristian Javier, who so far in 2021 had been able to limit his amount of earned runs. After retiring the first four batters he faced, a one-out walk in the top of the second set up the Blue Jays' first hit of the night, a two-run home run by Cavan Biggio, giving them a 2-0 lead over Houston.

After a leadoff home run made it a 3-0 score, Javier would deal with the fallout of more walks in the top of the third, issuing two to set up a two-out two-RBI double to give the Jays a commanding 5-0 advantage. Javier would battle back and complete five full innings, getting one out into the sixth before a walk would prompt Dusty Baker to make the call to the bullpen. His final line: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 8 K, 2 HR, 91 P.

Alvarez keeps mashing as Houston tries to claw back into it

Javier would exit with at least some runs on the board in support of him, with Yordan Alvarez hitting a two-run opposite-field homer in the bottom of the fourth to cut the lead to three runs. Alvarez accounted for another run in the next inning, coming through with an RBI-single to make it 5-3, which is where the game stood as Andre Scrubb would take over in the top of the sixth.

Scrubb finished that inning for Javier and returned for a 1-2-3 seventh to keep it a two-run game. Bryan Abreu was the next reliever, and he, too, was able to retire the Blue Jays in order in the top of the eighth. The Astros continued to chip away at Toronto's lead, getting another run in the bottom of the inning on an RBI by Yuli Gurriel to make it 5-4 heading to the ninth.

Toronto evens the series

Brooks Raley entered to try and keep it a one-run game with a clean inning, but instead, two runners would reach on a walk and error before Joe Smith would enter to try and strand them. Instead, a two-out home run put the game back out of reach at 8-4, with Houston coming up empty in the bottom of the inning, setting up a rubber match in the finale.

Up Next: This series's third and final game will be an afternoon start of 1:10 PM Central on Sunday. Zack Greinke (2-1, 3.76 ERA) will try to add more wins to his record for Houston, while Nate Pearson will be making his 2021 debut for Toronto.

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