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Rockets took 39 fts, as NO coach Monty Williams quickly noted. Rockets average 31.2 FTA, most in league since 05-06 Knicks averaged 31.5.
One more from Howard on 1st game back after 2 wks: "In the 1st quarter, I needed an oxygen mask. I kept playing and tried to get in rhythm."
Rockets 53 wins tied for fifth most in franchise history. If win both remaining games would tie for third most.
Dwight Howard: "I felt really good. I just have to get the timing back. No worries there. My ankle felt really good. That's a good thing."
Beverley: "Everything's good. Everything's perfect. Iced. I'm just so happy we won."
Beverley said he was fine after the game. No concerns with knee or bump in final minute with Morrow, but was hesitant early. "It felt good."
Pat Beverley: "We understood that we were going to come out a little rusty, which we did. We got our groove back in the second half."
McHale said Beverley limping at the end was not because of his knee, thought he just tweaked his hip.
Then again, Beverley thought he would be OK after he hurt the knee. He leaves with 20p, matching his career high in first game back.
Guessing Beverley is OK. He stuck around for a postgame on-court interview.
Rockets one win or Blazers loss from clinching homecourt advantage in first round. Play Spurs Monday, at Pels on Wednesday.
FINAL: Rockets 111, Pelicans 104. Effort huge concern, but Rox went 3P-crazy in 4th to pull off comeback. Harden 33-13a, Bev 20p, Lin 18p.
Rockets 111, Pels 104. In Rockets past 2 home wins, came back from 14 down against some of Nuggets, 15 down against a few of the Pelicans.
Beverley, holding his right knee, asks out.Definitely favoring it on way to bench.
Lin stole the ball, Harden knocks down a pair of free throws and this one should be in Houston's control. 109-104, 25.2 left.
Lin steal, his fourth. Harden can seal it from the line.
Lin drive, Rockets up three, 33 seconds left. Lin with 16p is 6 of 8.
Jeremy Lin breaks free on a drive and banks it in. Rockets up three, 33 ticks left. Big comeback.
Harden, btw, has his fourth 30-10 game in past five and a career-high matching 13 assists, fwiw.
Another video review after Babbitt miss. Was ruled off Ajinca. This one should take less time than the TNT timeout length last time.
James Harden gives the Rockets the lead, then forces Babbitt into a miss on a drive. 105-104 Rockets, 46.1 sec left.
Call upheld. Harden goes coast-to-coast for layup, lead with 1:03 left.
Long video review with 1:09 left, Rockets down 1. Was ruled Rockets ball, off Aminu on the floor.Tough call. Big call.
Man, if the Rockets face the Pelicans in the first round, it could be a great series.
Suddenly the Toyota Center is alive. Crowd is fully engaged now.
Beverley back-to-back corner 3s and Rockets within 1 with 1:36 left. If Rockets can find a way to defend Babbitt, Rivers, might steal win.
Beverley for three ... TWICE! Last chance for Rockets. 104-103 Pelicans, 1:36 left.
I know Rockets playing 4th in 5 and Howard, Beverley have not played in 2 weeks. But Pels without top 7 !! scorers, also played last night.
Career high du jour: Luke Babbitt with 19.
Troy Daniels for three! Rockets have closed to within 95-92, 5:35 left.
Kind of says a lot about confidence McHale has in Hamilton, Casspi at this point. Going w Troy Daniels in 4th quarter of his 2nd game today.
Harden and Beverley with back-to-back threes, Rockets within 90-84, 7:55 left. Pelicans going right at Lin last three possessions.
For 2nd night in a row, Harden matching up defensively at PF. Desperate Rockets going with Beverley, Lin, Daniels, Harden, Howard.
Fourth quarter begins with Howard, Harden missing at the rim, Howard missing 2 fts. But help is on the way. Troy Daniels checking back in
Pelicans (well, some of them) 82, Rockets 72 after 3. For tonight's career-high watch, Luke Babbitt has 17, one shy of his career best.
82-72 New Orleans heading to the fourth. Seriously. Rockets just 4-16 from three-point range. In desperate need of a spark.
I stand corrected. Hamilton was coming in, but McHale decided to go to the D-League well. Troy Daniels in, playing in second game of the day
Hamilton checking back in for Casspi. After that, well, there are some Vipers in town.
Casspi came up empty on a break to fall to 0 for 4. Someone named James Southerland hit a 3. Pelicans back up 10.
Jeremy Lin may be a -12 tonight, but he he hasn't missed a shot yet -- he's 4-4 from the field, his last one a three. Rockets within 73-66.
Rockets cut the lead to single digits. A stirring comeback against Babbit, Ajinca and Co. (Unbelievable it's come to this.)
Pels 59, Rox 46 at half. NO 6 of 12 on 3s; Houston 2 of 12. Pels with just 3 tos. Harden with 12p, 7 a. Howard 10p, just 1r. Asik 9p, 8r.
McHale might need to deliver halftime speech wearing a hockey mask & holding a chainsaw. Rockets down 59-46 at half to weak Pelicans squad.
With three minutes left in half, the players usually at end of Pels bench hitting 50 %, lead Rockets 53-41. Bring on the Spurs!
As important as getting Beverley, Howard back and up to speed is, and for Parsons to get night off, a win might be useful. Rockets down 12.
Playing the role of Gorgui Dieng is Alexis Ajinca. Career-highs are 19 pts, 3 blocks. He has 13 & 2, 3:00 left 1st half. Rockets down 53-41.
Rockets up 22-20 after 1. Would think we'll see return of Beverley, Lin backcourt to start second quarter. Rockets ought to open it up here.
Rockets up 22-20 after one. Harden with all Houston's assists (6). Asik is actually leading the team in scoring (8 points) and rebounds (6).
Harden 1 of 4, but w all 6 Rockets assists (and slick pass to Asik to draw foul with.6 left in q). Asik, Lin looked good in 7 min off bench.
James Harden having another high-assist first quarter. He's got 5 dimes, but Rockets-Pelicans tied at 16 w/ 2:31 left 1Q.
Pels' second- and third-teamers shooting 50 percent through eight minutes. Seems like I've typed versions of that a lot lately.
Lin in for Beverley after 5 1/2 minutes. Immediately beats Rivers off the dribble.
Asik checking in for Howard after just five minutes. Rockets likely limiting Howard's minutes, but he looked OK.
Howard, Beverley moving well in first game back, but there might be some signs of rust, too. Both missed bunnies early.
With Casspi starting with Parsons, Garcia out, Rockets move on to lineup No. 15 of the season. Beverley, Howard back in starting lineup.
If nothing else, Rockets made tonight interesting with Howard, Beverley back, Parsons, Garcia out and Harden singing in the locker room.
Good morning tweets.. Good day to win a ball game .. Wouldn't you say..
Rockets need any combination of 2 wins or Portland losses to clinch HCA. Play Pels twice, Spurs at home; Blazers home for Warriors, Clips.
Of Brewer's 19 fgs, 16 were layups or dunks. Rockets allowed 39 FB pts for 2nd time in three games, 12 more than in any previous game.
Brewer career highs for pts, fga, fgs, fta, fts and steals. Adelman: "Way up there, I tell ya. I don't think they knew what to do with him."
Brewer also had a career-high six steals. Only Brewer, Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson and Rick Barry had 50 with six steals in a game.
Corey Brewer's shot chart looks like someone spilled an ink well around the basket. Cisco Garcia: "He took all layups. It's frustrating."
Since Beverley & Howard went out, Rockets have given up 115.9 points per game over 8 games. They can't get Bev back soon enough.
Dieng jumper with 4.6 left wins it. Wolves 112, Rockets 110. Brewer with 51. Harden with 33, 10a, 8r. Parsons w 27. Rockets 22 turnovers.
After Harden 3, Rubio finds Dieng for a bucket. Harden can't conjure another miracle this time. Wolves get well-deserved win 112-110.
FINAL: TWolves 112, Rockets 110. Harden 33p-9a-8r-6stl, Parsons 27p, but Corey Brewer's insane night (51p), Rocket turnovers (22) too much.
James Harden. Who else.
Harden ties it with a 3.
He did it again
Parsons with a quick slam out of the timeout, giving him 27, but Rubio makes two free throws and it's 110-107 MIN, 19.9 sec left.
Last timeout for HOU as Rubio nets 2-2 this time. 110-107 Wolves, 19.9 to go. Still enough time to get another quick 2, though.
Rockets take the quick 2, a Parsons dunk. Rubio back to line with a 1-point lead, 19.9 left. Hits both.
Rubio hits 1 of 2 fts. Rockets TO down 3 with 23.8 left. Brewer pass to Dieng for 4-pt lead was his 1st assist, showing he did everything.
Harden has 30/8/9 (and 6 steals, 5 turnovers). Highly doubtful that will be his final line. He's been larcenous in these situations lately.
Rubio makes 1-2 free throws. Last good chance for Rockets, down 108-105 w/ 23.8 seconds left.
So after 51 points (tying franchise record), Brewer gets first assist on dish to Dieng for long 2. Rockets down 2, 23.8 to go. Been here b4.
Parsons stripped Brewer on a drive, but then charged into Rubio. Wolves up two, 1 min left before Brewer can send his shoes to Springfield.
For all of their fourth quarter foibles, Wolves are 4-0 in games decided by 5 points or fewer since March 1.
Asik fouls Brewer shooting a jumper. Place goes nuts when he hits his free throws for 51, matching franchise record for any game.
Harden with slick split of the double-team, dishes to Lin for 3. Then Parsons steal and dunk. We're tied at 103 with 1:44 to go.
Lin 3, Parsons steal and dunk and this thing is tied with two minutes left. Crazy game.
Now that he is up to 49, Brewer has most points scored in regulation in Wolves history. Franchise record is 51 by Love in double OT.
Corey Brewer has played seven seasons in the NBA and he is nine points away from *doubling* his career-high. 49 points.
Corey Brewer with more points (47) than any Wolves player has scored this season or any player has scored vs. Houston.
Rockets down 3 as Harden picks up his fifth foul with four minutes left.
And that number is about to be 34. Worth nothing that 4Q closeouts have not exactly been a strong suit for MIN this season.
T-Wolves foul less than any other team in NBA. Rockets had averaged around 18 FTs/game vs MIN this year. They've got 32 FTs tonight.
A few fans start the MVP chant with Brewer at the line.
Rockets gave up 39 fast break points in LA to start the trip. Wolves up to 36 on break with 6:24 left to end it.
Brewer heading to line with 44. Most against Rockets this season Carmelo's 45. Most for Wolves Love's 45.
Rockets' strategy: Make Corey Brewer think he's MJ so he'll take heat checks throughout the 4Q. Sneaky.
Corey Brewer fails to get the superstar call. Adelman can't believe it. That's Corey Brewer.
Rockets fail to get the rebound of a missed free throw. Brewer layup. Followed by a Brewer layup. He has 44. Wolves up 3.
Corey Brewer have it all. And then some.
Corey Brewer, 44 points... and there's 8:40 left in the game. 90-87 TWolves.