Coming off a quality win in Atlanta , the Rockets looked to start another win streak vs. Milwaukee Monday afternoon.
It wasn’t pretty, but Houston persevered for their 19th win of the season (19-23 overall) beating Milwaukee 93-84. I will admit, watching the beginning of this game wasn’t fun. In fact, Houston had one of their worst shooting quarters of the season, and were still leading after one. Houston shot 30.8% from the field in the first (8-26 overall) which miraculously trumped Milwaukee’s slow start of 29.2% from the field (7-24 overall).
As Scola went, so did the Rockets. Off to an atrocious 1-9 start, Houston’s offense was stagnant in the first half, being carried by the solid play of Kevin Martin and their bench (tied 39-39 at the half). Houston’s second quarter mirrored the first, shooting 30.8% and 8 for 26 once again. If it wasn’t for the solid 2nd quarter play by Jordan Hill (6 pts, 4 reb) and the Rockets bench (13 of 21 2nd quarter points) then Houston would have found themselves trailing big at the half.
After a first half hangover, offense finally showed up for the second half of play. Despite a rough start, Luis Scola never stopped shooting. In the third quarter alone, Scola found his groove back (shooting 5-8 in the quarter) finishing the third with 17 points and 9 rebounds. Not to be outdone, Kevin Martin came to play in the third as well (the entire second half for the most part). With 12 first-half points, K-Mart exploded for 24 in the second half finishing with a game high 36. The Houston Rockets moved away the Bucks in the 3rd, shooting a red-hot 65% in the quarter out to a 8 point (74-66) to close the quarter.
Then came the dagger! Houston had possession to start the fourth quarter and never gave it up. Literally! Lets run through the first minute of the 4th: Kevin Martin missed three, offensive rebound, Kevin Martin missed shot, offensive rebound, Aaron Brooks missed layup, offensive rebound, Kevin Martin missed shot, offensive rebound, then finally Scola drew the foul leading to two foul shots. If that isn’t demoralizing to a team, then I don’t know what is.
Rebounds were once again a key factor in the Rocket’s victory. Houston (36.8 FG% for the game) was outshot by Milwaukee’s 44%, yet still won by a decisive nine points. Houston improved their season record to 19-23 and 11-9 at home (just 2.5 games back from Portland for 8th seed). Hello winning streak!