It's a make or miss league

The Rockets report, brought to you by APG&E: Houston lets one go in Brooklyn 123-116

The Rockets report, brought to you by APG&E: Houston lets one go in Brooklyn 123-116

Sometimes, basketball is as simple as who makes their shots as the Rockets learned Friday night in Brooklyn. The Rockets couldn't buy a three-pointer (12 of 48 or 25%) while the Nets seemingly were shooting into the Pacific Ocean (19 of 32 or 59.4%). Houston certainly has a lot to clean up defensively (like in transition where they allowed the Nets to go 7 for 8 on fastbreak opportunities), but the disparity in how they seem to be the coldest team every night squaring off against the hottest team doesn't read as something sustainable. The Rockets are shooting 31% from three-point range (74/239) while their opponents have shot 43.2% from three (86/199) this season.

The Rockets actually started off the game playing really well and seemingly focused defensively, tallying a 15-point lead with 8:21 remaining in the 2nd quarter. That lead quickly evaporated as Houston went 1-8 from three-point range and turned the ball over 5 times to allow the Nets to go on a 14-1 run to end the half. From there, the Rockets never quite recovered.

Houston made a run in the fourth quarter to get the lead down to 6, but after a sequence in which P.J. Tucker tried to draw a charge and wasn't whistled followed by a Jarrett Allen layup and Kyrie Irving three, the lead was back up to 11 for the Nets and the Rockets never made another strong charge.

Star of the game: A better phrasing for this category tonight may be "Who played the least bad?" for which the honor goes to Danuel House, who tallied 15 points tonight on 6 of 10 shooting from the field and 3 of 6 shooting from three-point range. House has become a wildly reliable shooter and contributor for the Rockets this season and has placed any doubts about his starting role to bed. His energy, floor spacing, ball-handling, and rebounding have been major assets to Houston this season.

Honorable mention: If James Harden had shot just a little bit better than 2 for 16 from three-point range tonight, the Rockets win this game and there's no way he's not the star of the game. While it seemed like Harden's shooting struggles had gone away after last game, they came back to haunt him tonight in a major way. It's highly unlikely Harden finishes the season shooting under 20% from three-point range, but the Rockets need him to turn it around quickly.

Key moment: Houston allowed Brooklyn to go on a 14-1 run to end the first half, resulting in the loss of their double-digit lead.

Up next: The Rockets travel to Miami on Sunday at 5:00 p.m. to take on the Heat.

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Rockets defeat Magic, 118-106. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images.

Fred VanVleet scored a season-high 37 points and the Houston Rockets snapped a five-game skid with a 118-106 victory over the Orlando Magic on Tuesday night.

The Magic fell into a tie for fourth place with Cleveland in the Eastern Conference. They came into the night with a chance to clinch the Southeast Division title with a win and a loss by the Miami Heat, but they couldn’t get it done against Houston and the Heat beat the Hawks 117-111 in double overtime.

“We can't hang our heads,” Magic coach Jamahl Mosley said. “We've got to come out and go after Milwaukee tomorrow. That's what it's got to be. Take the lessons from this one. Bounce back tomorrow.”

A basket by Markelle Fultz got the Magic within eight with about four minutes to go but VanVleet made a jump shot followed by a three-point play to make it 114-101 about a minute later to secure the victory.

Paolo Banchero and Jalen Suggs scored 21 points apiece for the Magic and Fultz added 18.

VanVleet made six 3-pointers and had eight rebounds and six assists. Jabari Smith Jr. added 23 points and Dillon Brooks had 15 as the Rockets played their last home game of the season.

“We wanted to continue to build and we know we're out of the race but we have four to go,” coach Ime Udoka said. “We don't want to just lay down and chalk it up... we fought hard and played well.”

The Magic scored the first nine points of the fourth quarter, with the last five from Joe Ingles, to cut the lead to 97-91 with about nine minutes to go.

Houston got its first points of the quarter on a 3-pointer by VanVleet, but Fultz made a layup seconds later.

The Rockets hadn't forgotten about the 116-86 loss they suffered to Orlando in their season opener.

“They kicked our butts the first game of the season,” VanVleet said. “We definitely remember that. So it was good to get some get back there.”

The Rockets led by 12 at halftime and opened the second half with an 11-4 run to make it 74-55 with nine minutes left in the third. Jalen Green had the first five points in that stretch and VanVleet added a 3-pointer.

Houston was up by 18 after another 3 from VanVleet later in the third quarter before the Magic went on a 10-4 run, with five points from Suggs, to get withing 90-78 with 3 ½ minutes left in the quarter.

Soon after that Ingles and Houston’s Cam Whitmore were both given technical fouls after bumping into one another and jawing at each other. Whitmore was ejected 14 seconds after that for arguing with an official after being called for a loose ball foul.

Ingles made two free throws but the Rockets outscored Orlando 5-2 to close out the quarter and take a 97-82 lead into the fourth quarter.

UP NEXT

Magic: Visit Milwaukee Wednesday night.

Rockets: Visit Utah Thursday night.

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