Houston rallies late, wins 118-113

3-pointers from Rockets versus Hornets

Tim Warner/Getty Images

The Houston Rockets kicked off the first half of a back to back Wednesday night on the road versus the Charlotte Hornets. For the second time this week Houston struggled against an opponent that on paper seemed like an easy victory. The Rockets trailed through most of the game until a late rally and clutch free throws from James Harden sealed their third straight victory. Houston is now 36-25, first in the Southwest Division and fifth in the Western Conference.

Goofy uniform, serious game

The Hornets sported their throwback striped jerseys in celebration of their 30th season, and Kemba Walker made them look good. The three time All Star was disinterested in allowing the Rockets an easy win on his court, exploding for 35 points, 4 assists, 4 rebounds, and 5 steals. This marks the second straight game where the Rockets have allowed an opponent to score 35 or more points.

Foul Trouble and Big Boards

Kenneth Faried and Clint Capela have been adjusting to sharing the floor since Capela's return from injury after the All-Star break. Wednesday night provided no such opportunity, as "The Manimal" picked up four quick fouls and was relegated to eight minutes for the night. Capela seized the opportunity and crashed the boards in the sort of fashion fans had become accustomed to prior to his injury. Capela finished the night 10-16 from the field with 23 points and 17 rebounds.

Working through some things

Despite the streak ending Monday, Harden was once again back into 30-point territory, finishing with 30 points even to close out the night. Once again, however, Harden's performance beyond the arc was abysmal. The reigning MVP has acknowledged that his neck is still bothering him since sitting out Saturday night against the Golden State Warriors, and after a 1-11 three-point output Harden has now shot 1-21 on the week. While a slump like this is obviously concerning, it's hard to ignore the fact that he still put up 30.

Rockets Player of the Game

Clint Capela: 23 points, 2 assists, 17 rebounds, 1 block

Hornets Player of the Game

Kemba Walker: 35 points, 4 assists, 4 rebounds, 5 steals

Up next:

The Rockets host the Miami Heat tonight at 7 p.m. central

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The Texans didn't have an answer for Derrick Henry. Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Romeo Crennel made a valorous call that might have costed the Houston Texans from winning their second consecutive game on Sunday. Up by seven with 1:50 left in the fourth quarter, Crennel decided to call a two-point conversion following Deshaun Watson's one-yard touchdown pass to Brandin Cooks.

During the two-point conversion, Watson had a look at an open Randall Cobb, but Titans' defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons got a hand on the ball to deflect the pass. The failed conversion allowed the Titans to take a 42-36 victory over the Texans inside Nissan Stadium. Tennessee scored 13 unanswered points, which included a seven-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Tannehill to A.J. Brown to send the game into overtime.

"I think I would do it again," Crennel said during his media availability on Monday. "You are on the road against a divisional opponent who is undefeated, and if you could get that two-point conversion — you shut the door on them. We had a guy open, but unfortunately, the ball got tipped and we did not make it. I would do it again because it was a good choice."

The decision to not kick the field goal caused somewhat of an uproar, but it is understandable why Crennel made the call. Crennel had faith in Watson to put the Texans in a position to close the game, similar to his 4th-and-4 call during last week's victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

In the end, Crennel's risky decisions could stem from the lack of faith he has in the Texans' depleted defense.

Houston's defense hit an all-time low against the Titans. They gave up a franchise-worst 601 total yards — with Derrick Henry accounting for 212 yards on 22 carries. But despite their struggles against the run, the Texans' secondary were just as faulty. They gave up a total of 338 yards through the air and allowed Tannehill to go 8-for-9 down the field during the Titans' final drive of regulation.

Had Houston's defense made a stop during the closing seconds of the fourth quarter, the Texans could have ended the game 2-0 under their interim head coach.

"I wanted to go ahead and get the two points — I felt like that would have put the game out of reach for them," Crennel said. "If we had gotten it, we would have been in much better shape. But we did not get it. We did not perform well in overtime, and they [Titans] won the game."

Following Sunday's heartbreaking loss, Texans safety Justin Reid said it best, "Had we converted on the two-point conversion, this would be a totally different conversation. So it is what it is."

Up next, the 1-5 Texans will look to bounce back from defeat against the 4-1 Green Bay Packers, inside NRG Stadium on Sunday. Kick-off is at 12:00 PM CT.

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