The Rockets beat the Philadelphia 76ers thanks to a game-winning 3-pointer.
The Houston Rockets (4-1) came into Philly after suffering their first loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night. Down two more players in Nene and Trevor Ariza, the squad went up against a young and gritty 76ers (1-4) squad that lead for most of the game.
Another poor shooting display nearly killed the Rockets in the 4th quarter. However, key defensive stops and a clutch Eric Gordon gave Houston the victory.
Let’s look at the stats:
Stats of the evening
Eric Gordon: 29 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists
James Harden: 27 points, 3 rebounds, 13 assists
Clint Capela: 16 points, 20 rebounds, 4 blocks
While many would say James Harden is an MVP candidate, it is actually Eric Gordon who should be considered the way he’s playing right now. Since the Chris Paul injury, The Rockets have turned to EG and he has put in some work. And yes, Harden has been great offensively. However, he is still turning the ball over way too much.
The other Rockets to make their presence felt were Tarik Black and Clint Capela, who had a nice game and got a career-high 20 rebounds as he patrolled the paint excellently tonight. Throw in another solid defensive effort from Luc Mbah a Moute, and it was enough to set up this shot:
Eric Gordon for MVP so far?
Rockets pounce on 76ers collapse
The 76ers were up by as much as 11 points in the 4th quarter. With chants of “trust the process” raining down on the court, the boys in red and white fought back to give EG the shot that won the game.
Philly got double-digit contributions from Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, J.J. Redick, and Robert Covington. However, sloppy play, poor shot selection, and a stout defensive effort on the Rockets end finished this game off down the stretch.
It is also worth noting that while the Rockets were without CP3, the 76ers were without No. 1 overall pick, Markelle Fultz.
Harden and Gordon hit some ridiculous shots to keep the Rockets alive in this game. Check out this long splash from “The Beard.”
The Beard now with 22 points. pic.twitter.com/RSBU7xFa4x
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) October 26, 2017
Block City in Philadelphia
Harden, Black, and Capela combined for 9 of the 13 blocks the Rockets had in Philly. Mbah a Moute had 3 blocks of his own, and Ryan Anderson had the other. Clint Capela didn’t care about “The Process” as he had one of the key blocks to keep the team in the game.
Here’s Capela’s block on Embiid:
Additional things to note:
While a win is a win, there is no doubt, the Rockets are in a bit of a funk to start the season. For example, the squad had another poor performance from the 3-point line. As a team, the Rockets shot 30.8% or 12/39 from the perimeter. Not acceptable for a team that prides itself on it’s 3-point ability.
Luckily, its only game 5 of 82. There is still plenty of time for this team to get its shooting mojo back.
Another key area that needs more work is the ball movement. Yes, CP3 is out. But as much as Harden assists on plays, the ball tends to stick with him a bit too much still. The same can also be said about Gordon. Both of these guys need to trust the guys around them and avoid iso-heavy basketball.
The Rockets depth will certainly be tested the next 3 games. Will Isaiah Canaan get some playing time? Expect Black and Mbah a Moute to get extended minutes. Also, keep an eye on that small ball lineup coach Mike D’Antoni likes so much. Look for more P.J. Tucker at center in that case.
Next stop, Charlotte. The squad will meet Dwight Howard and the Hornets on Friday in search of victory number 5.