The Houston Rockets gave up a 21-point lead in the second half to lose 109-89 to the Miami Heat, Sunday, in the American Airlines Arena. This is the third straight 20 point loss for the Rockets to start the season.
With Dwight Howard and Terrence Jones sitting out Sunday’s game, the Rockets went with a smaller starting lineup. After an embarrassing loss Friday night, the Rockets came out in the first quarter full of intensity.
Scoring half of Houston’s points, Clint Capela gave the Rockets a 12-4 lead early in the first period. Although Houston got off to a hot start offensively, it was their defense that stood out the most. Houston scored 12 points off Miami’s turnovers to give the Rockets a 35-30 lead after the first.
Early in the second newly required Chuck Hayes enter the game, and his defense helped Houston go on a 12-2 run to give the Rockets a 15 point lead. Although James Harden was playing his best half of the season with 14 points, 6 assists, and 2 steals, Marcus Thornton was the Rockets’ star of the night.
Thornton scored 19 points, and was a perfect 5 for 5 from behind the arc to the give Rockets a 63-44 lead heading into the half. In the first half the Rockets made more threes alone than either of their first two games.
Houston was able to bump their halftime lead up to 21-points, but went cold mid-way through the third quarter. Led by their 12 year guard Dwyane Wade with 9 third quarter points, the Heat battled back with an 18-8 run to cut the defect down to nine.
After putting Goran Dragic on skates and throwing it down, it seemed like Patrick Beverley was able to give the Rockets their momentum back on offense. However, unable to cool the Heat down, Miami outscored Houston 31-12 to tie the game at 75 heading into the fourth.
We see you Pat… https://t.co/jrmjRKTHYE
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) November 2, 2015
Although scoreless throughout the game, Chris Bosh led the Heat comeback scoring 10 points to give Miami an 87-83 lead midway through the quarter. Unable to score any baskets, the Rockets gave up a 21-0 run as the Heat took a 101-83 lead late in the fourth.
The Heat outscored the Rockets 34-14 in the fourth to hand Houston their third loss of the season. The Rockets next game will be Monday night as they welcome Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Toyota Center.
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James Harden once said that this will be a MVP season for him. However, after a slow start to the season, Harden maybe out of the MVP discussion early. Harden’s shooting struggles continued Sunday night against the Heat. He scored 16 points on 2-14 shooting, and went 0-10 from downtown. Harden has missed his last 13 three-point shot attempts and is 3-30 from behind the arc. Maybe James Harden should have been focusing on becoming a better player, other than complaining about last season’s MVP honors.
Dwight Howard sat out Sunday’s game on the first of a back-to-back night. Life without Howard is tough for Houston. The Rockets gave up 60 points in the paint, and were out rebounded 54-49. Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside had his first double-double of the season with 25 points and 15 rebounds.
Hopefully Kevin McHale and the coaching staff can come up with another scenario to keep Howard healthy, because not having him miss games will be critical for Houston.
Chuck Hayes is back in Clutch City! Hayes will not help the Rockets offensively, but he can help heal the Rockets’ woes on defense. Although he is under sized at his position, Hayes has always been a hustler on the glass.
Since Dwight Howard is expecting to play limited minutes this season, Hayes will play some valuable minutes for Houston.
CHUCK HAYES IS BACK! https://t.co/T97QoAziSZ
— Rockets Insider (@Rockets_Insider) November 1, 2015
Although he did not play in the first two games of the season, Marcus Thornton made his debut in Houston, and came ready to play. Thornton scored 19 of his 21 points in the first half, knocking down his first five from 3-point land. If Thornton’s hot shooting can continue, he will make Houston a tough team to stop. Especially with the attention Harden demands from opponents.