The stage was set for a classic season finale showdown, with the winner taking the 7th seed in the west, and a right to face the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the playoffs. But the Houston Rockets did not have enough fuel in the tank at the end of the game, losing 99-95 in overtime to the Los Angeles Lakers.
James Harden did all he could to try and lead the Rockets to victory, finishing with 30 points and 8 rebounds, but was just 8 for 25 shooting, and turned the ball over 6 times. Chandler Parsons added 23 points.
With the Rockets trailing 90-87, Parsons sank a 34-foot three at the buzzer that tied the game and sent it into overtime. Unfortunately for the Rockets, that would be the only highlight for them in the final moments of the game as the Lakers took control of the overtime period.
The Lakers, now counting on the leadership of Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol, with Kobe Bryant being out for the rest of the season, received the type of game they were looking for from both players. Howard finished with 16 points and 18 assists, including a block on a Harden layup attempt in the final moments of overtime that all but sealed the win for the Lakers.
Gasol recorded his second triple-double in three games, finishing with 17 points, 20 rebounds, and 11 assists. The Lakers also got contributions from Steve Blake, who scored a career high 24 points, and Antawn Jamison, who added 16 points.
The Rockets dropped four out of their last six games to close out the regular season, and will now play the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round.
Houston had the lead for most of the game until mid-way through the fourth quarter when Blake hit a three that put the Lakers on top 81-79. The Rockets success for the first 3½ quarters came from the transition game, as it has all season. But their offense struggled to find any sort of continuity in the final moments of the fourth quarter.
“If we play their pace, their two big guys just control the game after a while,” Kevin McHale said. “We went through some stretches where we struggled offensively. We were stopping them, but they were just getting second and third shots. That killed us.”
“The Lakers did a good job down the stretch, and we didn’t do as good of a job,” said Jeremy Lin, who had 12 points on 4-of-14 shooting. “We didn’t get the looks we wanted to get, and we ended up with a lot of tough shots down the stretch.”
The Lakers will face the San Antonio Spurs in the first round, while Harden gets the chance to play his former team, the Thunder.
|Greg Smith, PF||42||4-6||0-0||0-0||2||8||10||1||0||4||1||5||+12||8|
|Chandler Parsons, SF||45||10-18||2-7||1-2||0||4||4||3||1||0||3||3||-13||23|
|Omer Asik, C||43||4-7||0-0||0-1||3||9||12||0||1||1||1||5||-6||8|
|Jeremy Lin, PG||35||4-14||2-7||2-4||0||2||2||8||0||0||2||4||-5||12|
|James Harden, SG||45||8-25||4-13||10-12||2||6||8||3||1||0||6||3||-4||30|
|Terrence Jones, PF||13||2-2||0-0||0-0||1||2||3||2||1||0||0||1||-4||4|
|Patrick Beverley, PG||18||2-5||0-2||2-2||1||4||5||2||1||0||0||3||-1||6|
|Carlos Delfino, SG||15||0-4||0-2||0-0||0||2||2||2||1||0||0||3||+1||0|
|Francisco Garcia, SG||9||1-3||0-2||2-3||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||4|
|Thomas Robinson, PF||DNP COACH’S DECISION|
|Donatas Motiejunas, PF||DNP COACH’S DECISION|
|Aaron Brooks, PG||DNP COACH’S DECISION|
|James Anderson, SG||DNP COACH’S DECISION|
Fast break points: 19
Points in the paint: 48
Total Team Turnovers (Points off turnovers): 14 (11)
+/- denotes team’s net points while the player is on the court.
|Pau Gasol, PF||44||7-17||0-0||3-4||5||15||20||11||0||2||3||0||+1||17|
|Metta World Peace, SF||24||4-11||2-5||2-3||2||1||3||3||1||0||0||2||+2||12|
|Dwight Howard, C||46||6-15||0-1||4-10||3||15||18||2||3||4||4||4||+6||16|
|Steve Blake, PG||48||6-20||4-12||8-8||2||5||7||7||0||0||1||2||+13||24|
|Jodie Meeks, SG||37||2-10||1-7||4-5||0||2||2||1||2||0||0||3||+4||9|
|Antawn Jamison, PF||33||6-12||2-5||2-4||4||0||4||1||0||0||1||1||+11||16|
|Earl Clark, SF||12||0-1||0-1||0-0||0||1||1||0||0||0||1||1||-7||0|
|Andrew Goudelock, PG||6||0-2||0-0||0-0||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||-12||0|
|Darius Morris, PG||16||2-2||1-1||0-0||0||1||1||2||0||0||2||4||+2||5|
|Devin Ebanks, SF||DNP COACH’S DECISION|
|Robert Sacre, C||DNP COACH’S DECISION|
|Chris Duhon, PG||DNP COACH’S DECISION|
|Steve Nash, PG||DNP STRAINED RIGHT HAMSTRING|