It's how you finish

The Rockets report, brought to you by APG&E: Rockets rally back to beat Spurs 109-107

Much like Houston's win over the Cavaliers last week, this game could have gone in an entirely different direction had the Rockets not responded to the Spurs' run with appropriate fear. The Cavaliers lept out to a 27-12 run to start the first quarter and didn't look back for the entire first half. The Rockets ended the first half down 73-59.

Harden really struggled in the first half scoring only 9 points on 4 of 17 shooting from the field. The third quarter is really where he turned it on, scoring 12 points on 4 of 6 shooting from the field and making 2 of his 3 three-pointers. The Rockets followed suit, outscoring the Spurs 30 to 17 in this period.

"My confidence is never gone," said Harden. "No matter if I go 0-for-20 or whatever. Like I'm going to always shoot the basketball and be aggressive."

I think it's huge. James didn't have a great first half," said D'Antoni." Just a lot of good things happened. A lot of guys contributed and it was a good win. All wins are good, but that was a really good win."

Star of the game: Thought the Rockets were utterly lost in the first half, it's anyone's guess where they would be without Russell Westbrook's 25-points on 10-16 shooting from the field.

"He held us in there," said D'Antoni. "His points gave us a chance."

Ironically, Westbrook had the team's lowest plus/minus (-10), but finished the game with 31 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block on 53.5% true shooting. To his credit, Westbrook has answered the bell every single time James Harden has had an off night. He may not be having a career season, but the games he does perform at a high-level are important for this Rockets' team.

Honorable mention: After worries about how he'll perform off the bench, Ben McLemore has proven he can be every bit the reserve that Gerald Green was for Houston before broke his foot.

"it's not just making adjustments," said McLemore about coming off the bench. "It's just playing free, you know, not thinking too much and just going out there and just playing the game. That's what I've been doing over these last few games."

McLemore poured in 17 points on 6 of 11 shooting from the field and 4 of 9 shooting from three-point range for Houston. With Danuel House struggling with

Key moment: The Rockets had to come out of the half on fire if they had any chance

Up next: The Rockets travel to Los Angeles at 9:30 p.m. to take on the Clippers

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Texans fall to Browns. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images.

The Houston Texans kept it closer than the experts thought they would, but couldn't pull out a victory. Here are 11 observations from the loss in Cleveland to the Browns.

1. The game looks totally different if Texans quarterback Tyrod Taylor finishes the game. Taylor left at halftime with a hamstring injury. He was playing exceptionally well against his former team. Taylor is not expected to play Thursday according to NFL Network.

2. Davis Mills had a rocky NFL debut which was to be expected. Mills looked to have the wrong elements of a few plays. He also couldn't hit backup wideout Andre Roberts over the middle and threw an interception. It was a fine performance considering what Mills showed he could do in the preseason.

3. Mills didn't work with a full load of offensive weapons in the second half. Rookie wideout Nico Collins didn't return to the game after his lone catch and big run early in the game. Veteran slot receiver Danny Amendola left the game with an injury. Tight end Anthony Auclair left with an eye injury. The Texans entered the game without wide receiver Anthony Miller who was inactive.

4. Brandin Cooks is a monster through two games. He is the most dangerous skill position player on the team, and defenses still have trouble covering him and staying with him. Cooks turned in yet another impressive day for this team and hauled in a Davis Mills touchdown pass.

5. The Browns did a solid job against the ground game of the Texans. Mark Ingram averaged under three yards per carry and Tyrod Taylor was the only rusher to have a big play on the ground. This led to a fair number of third-and-long situations which the Texans usually had trouble converting.

6. Justin Reid was set to increase his payday on his next contract with his early play. Reid forced a fumble and had an interception in the first half. Unfortunately, Reid would leave the game multiple times with injuries. The knock on Reid has always been his health.

7. The Texans were worn down by the Browns rushing attack all day. Once Cleveland committed to the run they saw the success of their work culminating in a 26-yard scamper by Nick Chubb for a touchdown. The Browns didn't run as much as I excepted them to run early.

8. Tim Kelly had another nice day calling plays. Kelly remains creative in finding ways to get the ball out of Taylor's hands quickly as well as manufacturing matchups where the Texans can win and pick up yards. He even got creative to get Davis Mills a passing touchdown late in the game. Kelly has been very impressive through two games.

9. Andre Roberts was inexcusably bad today. The Texans defense held on the opening drive and his muffed punt eliminated the momentum from the defensive stand. He also had poor returns on kickoffs. His lone job is to be a solid returner, and he failed at that on Sunday.

10. David Culley had a head-scratching decision foregoing an offsides call on a third down. The head coach opted for the result of the third down, and a punt on fourth down, instead of another third down. He did not explain himself well postgame on the decision either.

11. The Texans hung tough and should feel solid about where they could have been without the injury to their quarterback. With no Taylor in the short week, it will not be easy to beat the Panthers who upset the Saints on Sunday.

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