Late game heroics by Chris Paul and PJ Tucker helped the Houston Rockets end a five-game losing streak to the Los Angeles Lakers in double overtime.
After dropping their fifth straight loss to the Washington Wizards, the Houston Rockets 26-9 rung in the new year with a 148-142 double-overtime victory over the Los Angeles Lakers 11-24, Sunday, at Toyota Center. Despite coming from behind to end their losing streak, this was not a great performance by the Rockets. It’s still nice to have that win, though.
With Clint Capela back in the line-up, the Rockets came out and had a solid first quarter shooting 69.6 percent from the field, as Houston took a 44-37 lead. James Harden came out ablaze as usual scoring 12 points as Trevor Ariza poured 10 of his own.
Unfortunately for Houston, their hot streak went came to a halt.
After outscoring the Rockets 35-21 in the second quarter, the Lakers took a 72-65 lead into the half and spent the rest of the game proving why they are one of the youngest and exciting teams in the league.
Before the break, the Lakers scored 48 points in the paint, which showcased Houston’s inability to guard the middle. In addition to their lack of defense on the inside, the Rockets missed eight consecutive shots from behind the arc.
In order for the Rockets to win the chip, they MUST learn how to defend the paint and establish an inside-outside game on the offensive end. After the Lakers won the third 29-25, the Rockets finally played like a championship contending team.
Despite being down by 17 points, Houston fought their way back to tie the game at the end of regulation. However, fighting back late in the fourth came at a cost as Harden left the game with a hamstring injury with 17.7 seconds left. The Beard’s night ended prematurely with 40 points and 11 assists.
Even with the injury to Harden, the Rockets never gave in as Chris Paul took over has a future hall-of-fame player is supposed to. During the additional overtime periods, Paul scored 15 of his 28 points, including a shot that forced the second overtime.
Regardless of Paul’s late-game heroics, it would be the hustle and heart of PJ Tucker with a late put-back layup to give the Rockets a win. Trevor Ariza also played a significant factor in the win, scoring 23 points while 6-10 from downtown.
After the win, the Rockets will take their show on the road to Disney World, as they take on the Orlando Magic at the Amway Center.