The playoff chances for the Houston Rockets are still alive as they got a close win over the Golden State Warriors 99-96. The win snaps the Rockets six-game losing streak and put them 1/2 game behind the Utah Jazz for the No. 8 and final playoff spot with two games left.
Courtney Lee scored 20 points, Goran Dragic added 18 points and seven assists to lead the Rockets to the victory. What also helped was the Rockets shooting 10-of-26 from three-point range which doubled the Warriors production.
In the fourth quarter the Warriors nearly pulled off the win when they made it a 96-94 game with 1:31 left on a Klay Thompson jumper, but that would be the last field goal the Warriors would make. The Rockets were able to get a free throw from Chase Budinger and a put back by Patrick Patterson to go up five to seal the win.
The Houston Rockets are in a must win situation if they want to get back in the Western Conference playoff race. Currently they are one game back of the No. 8 spot and are riding a six-game losing streak.
The Rockets are taking on the Golden State Warriors who are completely out of the playoff race and are leading 58-55 at the half. After the first quarter it looked like the Rockets would have an easy time tonight as they led by 10 points, but the Warriors offense had a great second quarter to outscore the Rockets by seven points to make it a close game at the half.
The Rockets are shooting the ball well at 55 percent but they are only 3-of-10 from the three-point line, while the Warriors are at 54 percent but the Warriors are keeping the game close against the Rockets by making 4-of-9 from three-point range.
The scoring for the Rockets is spread out with Luis Scola leading the way with 11 points and the bench has also stepped up for Saturday night and have scored 24 points.
The Houston Rockets are in a dire situation. They've lost six and a row and are staring at the reality of not making the playoffs this season. In basketball, you're taught that if things aren't working out offensively then a good recourse can be to be aggressive and get to the rim. Only problem is, the Houston Rockets don't have anyone really good at doing that.
They didn’t get to the free-throw line. With no consistent presence on the interior apart from Luis Scola (who in my opinion remains underrated), the Rockets were never confused with an elite teams that gets to the free-throw line. Speedy Goran Dragic has the ability to draw contact better than almost every player in the league, but he’s human, and the toll his relatively small frame took dancing in the lane simply wasn’t sustainable. The Rockets lived and died on jump shots and threes.
They ranked 27th over the last 10 games in free-throw rate, meaning their free-throws attempted relative to their field goals attempted was flat out awful. In games like this, where possession after possession becomes more and more important, the free-throw line is THE place to live. Throughout the season this was a problem for the team (they’re currently ranked right after Dallas at 28th) and as I mentioned earlier, personnel is clearly an issue…but come on. The fact of the matter is that these games were physical battles, and if it took guys expanding upon their own comfort levels to get wins, then that’s what needed to be done. Obviously, that didn’t happen.
The Rockets have three games remaining versus Golden State, Miami and New Orleans. Do the Rockets have to win all three to make the dance? Probably so, and getting to the line would probably help.
It's not looking good for the Houston Rockets. The Rockets are currently on the outside of the playoff picture, and they need to climb past the Phoenix Suns, who currently hold the No. 8 seed, and the Utah Jazz.
The Rockets have just three games left to climb past both Phoenix and Utah. The Rockets host Golden State on Saturday before headed to Miami on Sunday night. Houston's regular season will then close out against the New Orleans Hornets on Thursday, at home in Houston.
Phoenix also has three games remaining. The Suns host Denver on Saturday before taking on the Jazz in Utah on Tuesday. The Suns end their regular season against the Spurs on Wednesday.
Houston will need both teams to go 1-2 or worse, while winning all three remaining games. It is impossible for both Phoenix and Utah to go 0-3 since they play each other on Tuesday night.