The Houston Rockets 119-112 loss to the Phoenix Suns now pushes the Rockets back to the 7th seed with one game left.
Turnovers have been one of the biggest weaknesses for the Rockets all season, and it showed again Monday night. The Rockets turned the ball over 16 times, leading to 21 fast-break points for the Suns. The Suns had lost seven consecutive home games prior to Monday night.
Chandler Parsons led the Rockets with 24 points, 7 assists, and 4 rebounds, and looked strong coming back from a calf injury. Carlos Delfino added 23 points, going 6 for 9 from behind the arc. Jeremy Lin scored 20 points, while James Harden was held to just 16 points on just 5-18 shooting.
The Suns were led by Luis Scola, who scored 26 points and grabbed 15 rebounds. Goran Dragic added 21 points and 14 assists, while Markieff Morris scored 20 points, and P.J. Tucker added 21 points. Morris also sparked the Suns in the second half, recording six blocked shots and five steals.
The Rockets defense did not show up as well, allowing the Suns to shoot 49.5 percent. Phoenix also scored 54 points in the paint, and a season high 39 points in the first quarter.
“We never had any kind of control of this game at all,” Kevin McHale said. “They had control of it all night. We made a couple of runs where we thought we would be OK. In the second quarter, we had a couple of things where I thought we could back in the game. We played very poorly. We had bad shot selection, we missed some shots, they posted us up, they got everything they wanted and we couldn’t stop them defensively.
“We are going to play a very determined L.A. team. We have to play well.”
Trailing 67-61 at halftime, the Rockets cut the lead to as little as 4 early in the third quarter. But the Suns pushed it to a 12 point lead late in the third before the Houston cut it to 90-83 at the start of the fourth quarter.
Patrick Beverly made a three-pointer that cut the lead to 103-101 with six minutes left in the fourth, but a quick 6-0 run by the Suns help put the game out of the reach.
“I think that has been one of our problems all season — focus,” Lin said. “It usually comes with a younger team. At this point of the season, it is really not an excuse. Every game means so much. We are talking about playoff seeding. We are talking about matchups and things that are more important than anything we played for all season.”
The Rockets now stand a game behind the Golden State Warriors for the 6th seed, and will face the Los Angeles Lakers Wednesday night in the regular season finale. The Lakers stand a game behind the Rockets for 7th place, and a game ahead of the Utah Jazz for 8th. With the Jazz owning the tiebreaker against the Lakers, L.A will come into the game in a must win mentality.
Meanwhile, the Rockets can possibly finish in the 8th seed if they lose to the Lakers, and the Jazz lose to the Memphis Grizzlies Wednesday night. A loss to the Lakers would give the tiebreaker to the Lakers, giving them the 7th seed, while a loss by the Lakers and a win by the Jazz would give Utah the 8th seed, as the Rockets own the tiebreaker over Utah.
Both games will be televised on ESPN, first with the Utah-Memphis game (7:00 PM CST), and then Rockets-Lakers (9:30 PM CST).
There was also a moment of silence before Monday night’s game for the bombings in the Boston Marathon.
|Greg Smith, PF||14||2-6||0-0||0-0||3||0||3||0||1||0||2||4||-14||4|
|Chandler Parsons, SF||40||8-13||2-4||6-7||0||4||4||7||0||1||3||2||-21||24|
|Omer Asik, C||14||3-4||0-0||0-0||1||6||7||1||1||0||1||2||-7||6|
|Jeremy Lin, PG||36||8-19||2-6||2-4||0||3||3||4||0||1||2||4||-8||20|
|James Harden, SG||34||5-18||0-7||6-11||0||4||4||2||1||0||4||1||-20||16|
|Terrence Jones, PF||29||6-11||0-1||0-0||1||3||4||1||0||6||1||3||+8||12|
|Donatas Motiejunas, PF||3||0-1||0-0||0-0||1||1||2||0||0||0||1||0||-7||0|
|Patrick Beverley, PG||17||2-4||1-2||0-0||2||1||3||0||0||1||0||2||+2||5|
|James Anderson, SG||5||1-1||0-0||0-0||0||1||1||1||0||0||0||0||+9||2|
|Carlos Delfino, SG||31||8-15||6-9||1-1||0||8||8||2||2||1||1||3||+7||23|
|Francisco Garcia, SG||16||0-0||0-0||0-0||0||4||4||3||0||1||1||0||+16||0|
|Thomas Robinson, PF||DNP COACH’S DECISION|
|Aaron Brooks, PG||DNP COACH’S DECISION|
Fast break points: 19
Points in the paint: 52
Total Team Turnovers (Points off turnovers): 16 (16)
+/- denotes team’s net points while the player is on the court.
|Luis Scola, PF||27||11-16||0-0||4-5||2||13||15||4||0||0||3||4||+3||26|
|Markieff Morris, PF||36||8-15||2-3||2-2||2||5||7||1||5||6||1||3||+17||20|
|Wesley Johnson, SF||31||5-12||1-5||1-2||0||7||7||1||0||2||2||1||+16||12|
|Goran Dragic, PG||36||7-17||2-4||5-6||3||2||5||14||3||0||3||2||+7||21|
|P.J. Tucker, SG||39||8-13||1-3||4-4||4||1||5||2||1||0||1||1||+20||21|
|Marcus Morris, PF||13||2-5||0-1||0-2||0||2||2||1||0||0||0||4||-9||4|
|Michael Beasley, SF||4||0-2||0-1||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||-6||0|
|Kendall Marshall, PG||28||3-8||0-2||2-2||0||2||2||4||1||1||1||2||-6||8|
|Jared Dudley, SG||28||3-7||1-4||0-0||0||1||1||2||1||0||0||2||-7||7|
|Hamed Haddadi, C||DNP COACH’S DECISION|
|Jermaine O’Neal, C||DNP COACH’S DECISION|
|Diante Garrett, PG||DNP COACH’S DECISION|
|Shannon Brown, PG||DNP COACH’S DECISION|