I will start by prefacing that I only watched the last quarter of the game. At work, I didn’t get done with my duties until the first three periods were finished, and I surprisingly flipped the channel to see the Rockets up by one. The 4th Quarter was all I needed to see. In what was an extremely frustrating game, and in a dream world a possible preview of a first round playoff matchup, Houston pushed San Antonio around for a majority of the game.
But the Spurs finally figured out…hey they don’t have a 7-foot shot blocker so let’s take it to the hole. Gary Neal, Richard Jefferson, and Parker all scored off drives hitting crucial buckets down the stretch in the 4th. Another turning point was second chance points. While the Rockets were only outrebounded by one, but the Spurs made the most of their opportunities outscoring Houston on second chance points 18-8.
The turning point came with the game tied at 107, Duncan was able to turn back the clock and nail a short jumper over the Chuckwagon to give the Spurs the lead for good. Duncan also hit a pair of free throws, ON AN ABSOLUTELY HORRENDOUS FOUL CALL (see picture above), that pushed San Antonio’s advantage to 111-107 with 30.8 seconds left to play. Lee and Duncan were both going for the ball on an errant pass, Lee tipping it away to Lowry which would have given Houston possession, down by two, with 30 seconds left. Instead, a foul was assessed to Lee and Duncan hit the two free throws putting the game out of reach.
The Rockets fought hard, and like they have all season came up just short. It was another disappointing loss, but one that can sum of this year in its entirety. With the Blazers and Grizzlies both losing yesterday it would have been huge to steal a win vs the best team in the Western Conference.
-I love the Lowry/Dragic combination. Bill Worrell summed it up best when describing the two: “It is like being attacked by two bulldogs at the same time.” Dragic put in some quality minutes going 5-6 from the field for 10 points. While a lot was good, the two did combine for 10 of Houston’s 18 turnovers.
-Chuck Hayes: Fellow writer, Dustin, and I used to play a Rockets drinking game where if the Chuckwagon would hit two consecutive free throws we would have to shotgun a beer. The fact that Chuck hit two free throws with around a minute left to play must require something bigger.
-Steve Novak sighting last night. I didn’t even know he was still in the league. I was very disappointed Chase didn’t take it to the rack every single possession Novak was guarding him, should have put up at least 10 in that span.
-Clutchness: While K-Mart was the leading scorer for the Rockets, he was 1-6 in the 4th Quarter, yet Houston kept running the offense through him. He was getting good looks, just not hitting his jumper.