Cutting it close
The Rockets report, brought to you by APG&E: Rockets escape Atlanta with narrow 122-115 victory
Even without Russell Westbrook and James Harden shooting as badly as he did (9 of 34 from the field), Houston's effort from the end of the second quarter onwards was truly dissapointing. This was a game the Rockets should have won going away, but they allowed Atlanta to climb back into it and make it close at the end.
By halftime, it really looked like the Rockets were going to repeat their last performance against the Hawks. Harden was rolling (29 points, 9 assists, and 5 rebounds) and the Rockets had a strong 77-62 lead.
Then the Rockets went on to miss a barrage of three-pointers (5 of 27 from three-point range) and fell off a cliff defensively, giving Atlanta a window to make this game close.
It also didn't help that Houston didn't have an answer for Trae Young, who had a career night tallying 42 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists, and 1 block on 55.4% true shooting.
Star of the game: Clint Capela was a matchup nightmare for Atlanta all night. The Hawks had no answer for Capela sprinting down the court and being an engaged lob threat. Capela ended the game with 22 points, 22 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 2 steals on 9 of 14 shooting from the field and 4 of 4 shooting from the free throw line.
Honorable mention: Normally James Harden logging 41 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists, 3 blocks, and 2 steals would be more than enough to earn him star of the night. The problem was that did all this on 9 of 34 shooting from the field and 4 of 20 shooting from three-point range. Harden had 22 points in the first quarter on good efficiency, but shot 3 or 24 shooting from quarters two through four.
Key moment: After taking a 23-point lead in the second quarter, the Rockets completely let go of the rope in the third quarter.
Up next: The Rockets travel to Oklahoma City on Thursday at 8:30 p.m. to play Thunder in what will be an emotional homecoming for star guard Russell Westbrook.