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Despite Furious Comeback, Rockets Outgunned in Overtime

Dwight+Howard+contributed+a+massive+36+points+and+26+rebounds+to+log+his+10th+straight+double-double%2C+in+a+performance+reminiscent+of+his+days+in+Orlando.
Dwight Howard contributed a massive 36 points and 26 rebounds to log his 10th straight double-double, in a performance reminiscent of his days in Orlando.

Dwight Howard contributed a massive 36 points and 26 rebounds to log his 10th straight double-double, in a performance reminiscent of his days in Orlando.

(AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

(AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

Dwight Howard contributed a massive 36 points and 26 rebounds to log his 10th straight double-double, in a performance reminiscent of his days in Orlando.

Sahil Bhutani, Online Editor

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The Rockets fell to the Clippers 140-132 in overtime last night, but the game was not without positives.

For most of the game, the Clippers held a comfortable 10 to 15 point lead behind hot 3-point shooting by multiple shooters. The Rockets, however, exploded for a 42-point fourth quarter to force overtime. The Clippers responded by continuing their nearly historic shooting behind the arc in overtime to secure the win.

Dwight Howard contributed a massive 36 points and 26 rebounds to log his tenth straight double-double, in a performance reminiscent of his days in Orlando. In fact, in his last six games, he has averaged 19.5 points and 15.5 rebounds. He even shot 14-18 from the free throw line, in a game in which the Rockets as a team missed 19 free throws. This is arguably Howard’s best season as a Rocket, which is encouraging following some late season injury concerns.

Marcus Thornton continued to be an incredible offensive spark, pouring in 23 points and 5 assists in just 22 minutes. In addition, he also drained two difficult, step-back 3-pointers in the closing seconds of regulation to force overtime. It’s still puzzling as to why Rockets head coach J.B. Bickerstaff isn’t giving Thornton more minutes, but truth be told, his rotations in general have been befuddling.

Another positive is that the Clippers had to stay on fire from the three-point line for virtually the whole game in order to beat the Rockets in overtime. They shot 60% from distance, and the Rockets weren’t exactly giving up wide-open shots either. Many of the threes rained down over the outstretched hands of Rockets defenders. They set a new franchise record with 22 3-pointers, just one shy of the NBA record (which the Rockets hold).

Clippers guard JJ Redick went 9-12 from the three-point line, setting another franchise record, as well as logging a career-high 40 points. Other hot shooting performances for the Clippers from three came from Chris Paul (5-7), Paul Pierce (3-5), and Wesley Johnson (3-7).

One particularly rough spot in Houston’s performance was James Harden. He scored 20 points and had 8 assists, but Harden was not aggressive on offense for most of the game. His shooting stroke was clearly off, as he missed five free throws and was 2-7 from the three-point line. His defensive effort was, as usual, lacking.

Though this game will end up in the loss column, the Rockets have some positives to take away as they struggle to get the team on track and gain favorable playoff positioning.

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