As the Pelicans fight to keep their playoff chances alive, the Houston Rockets held off a comeback victory in New Orleans.
Even with the injury to DeMarcus Cousins, the New Orleans Pelicans could still be a tough matchup for the Houston Rockets in the first round. The Rockets won their 55th game of the season after defeating the Pelicans with a 107-101 victory Saturday in the Smoothie King Arena in New Orleans.
While some might have thought this would be a cakewalk victory, this game was everything but easy in the Big Easy.
The Pelicans’ leading MVP scored 12 points in his first 10 minutes while shooting 66 percent from the field. However, much like the Rockets had no answer for Davis in the first, New Orleans could not find a way to stop Chris Paul in the second.
Despite only scoring three points in the first, the nine-time all-star scored 11 points in the second, helping the Rockets take a 60-54 lead into the half. Most importantly, Houston made some defensive adjustments on Davis and held him to two points during the quarter.
Despite a solid first half, the Rockets would see their six-point halftime lead extend to 20 midway through the third. While holding the Pelicans to a 1-12 shooting, Houston opened the quarter on a 12-0 run to give the Rockets a 72-54 lead.
Although it seemed as if the Rockets were ready to blow this game out the waters, the Pelicans would not go away, as they cut Houston’s lead to 84-72 after the third.
New Orleans opened the fourth on an 11-8 run, but their never-give-up spirit was not enough to pull an upset over the Rockets. Much like his backcourt mate in the second quarter, James Harden scored 11 points in the fourth to led Houston to the win.
It was another MVP performance for Harden as he led the way in the win with 32 points, 11 rebounds, and eight assists. Paul, who scored 21 points, eight rebounds, and five assists, would end the game becoming the 12th player in league history to record 2,000 steals for his career.
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) March 17, 2018
Following the win, the Rockets would take their three-game road trip to Minnesota to face the young and upcoming Timberwolves.