NBA Analysis: Heat Deliever Blow to Rockets Playoff Hopes

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The Rockets suffered quite the setback in their push for the playoffs Sunday night, losing to the Miami Heat 125-119.

Houston did a good job of keeping-up with the high-paced offense of the Heat, but the Big Three were too much in the end and pulled away late in the fourth quarter.

The trio of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh all finished with double-doubles and broke the 30-point barrier. At first glance those numbers indicate a massive victory for the Heat, but the Rockets had a trio of their own that kept the game close until the final minutes.

Luis Scola, Kevin Martin, and Kyle Lowry combined for 82 points and provided the Rockets with a comfortable 89-81 lead with four minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Everything looked good for the Rockets until Wade returned from a bruised tailbone suffered in the second quarter. Wade’s comeback sparked a 12-4 Miami run to tie the game and close the third quarter. The rest is history.

Miami used the momentum to establish an early fourth quarter lead that the Rockets were unable to overcome.

Player of the Game: Rockets: Luis Scola, Heat: Dwayne Wade
Scola is officially back. The big-man had an extremely efficient night going 13-of-23 from the field for 29 points. Chris Bosh had no answer for Scola inside and gave Scola too much room on jump shots throughout the game. As a result, Scola was able to get into an offensive rhythm early. Unfortunately, Scola didn’t do enough on the boards (five rebounds) to prevent the Heat from grabbing down 17 offensive rebounds.

Wade may not have led the Heat in scoring or rebounding but he is the reason the Heat won this game. I thought Wade was done for the game when he took a nasty spill in the second quarter. I thought his performance at the end of the game inspired his teammates and they seemed to feed off his energy. His final stat line on a night battling injury? 30 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and two blocks.

Key Stat: Rebounds- Miami 48, Houston 33
Where were the boards? Where was the hustle? Where was the Chuck Wagon? The Heat had three players finish with double digit rebounds and Houston finished with zero. Houston you have a problem when a six-footer like Kyle Lowry finishes the night as your leading rebounder. Chris Bosh finished the night with eight offensive boards! The Heat are too talented and athletic to be given multiple second chance opportunities. The Rockets inability to keep the Heat off the glass is the reason they suffered a difficult road defeat.

Quick Thoughts
- The Rockets have a lot of positives to take away. They nearly stole a road win against a Miami team that is hungry to improve their playoff position in the Eastern Conference.
- Memphis is playing really well with the pressure on them down the stretch. Their win over San Antonio was impressive even if it was a home victory.
- Memphis Grizzlies (41-33) Remaining Schedule: Golden State, @ New Orleans, Minnesota, LA Clippers, Sacramento, New Orleans, @ Portland, @ LA Clippers
- Houston Rockets (38-35) Remaining Schedule: @ New Jersey, @ Philadelphia, San Antonio, Atlanta, Sacramento, @ New Orleans, LA Clippers, Dallas, @ Minnesota.
- Looking at the match-ups I think the Grizzlies have the easiest schedule remaining. Taking both schedules into consideration I think the Rockets need to finish either 8-1 or 7-2 to catch Memphis. They may have a better chance of catching New Orleans (42-31) who have a much more difficult schedule. Either way the Rockets are officially in must win mode the rest of the season.