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.
Mike D'Antoni on the first half: "They came out and slapped us pretty good right in the face." https://t.co/K94O35c2mG— Salman Ali (@Salman Ali)1576554549.0
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."
James Harden on what changed for Houston in the 2nd half: "Our intensity defensively. They were just getting a lot… https://t.co/DpsG2HUPuZ— Salman Ali (@Salman Ali)1576555832.0
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