WEDNESDAY, 3/1/06 – The Rockets lost a tough one Wednesday night. Yes, the 76ers have a better record than the Rockets, but Houston has always matched up well against Philadelphia. And with a playoff berth at stake, the Rockets don’t have much room for error with 24 games remaining until the post-season starts.
Allen Iverson (40 points, 10 assists) was incredible, putting his team on his back in the fourth quarter to score 12 points (4-of-6 shooting, 4-of-4 from the line). And Kyle Korver hit 3-of-4 from three-point land in the fourth quarter. Result: a disappointing 106-101 Houston loss.
It’s hard to believe this was the same 76er team that didn’t make a field goal in 19 minutes of play in their last game in Philly a few weeks ago. With Houston’s defense breaking down at the most inopportune time, Iverson and Korver could hardly miss down the stretch while T-Mac (25 points) and Yao (22 points and 13 rebounds) missed a few too many shots, making only 4-of-11 collectively as the Rockets’ lead withered away.
The Rockets were looking good with an 11-point lead with 5:00 minutes remaining in the third quarter, and held a 77-73 lead heading into the fourth, thanks to T-Mac scoring 12 points of his own in the third. However, Houston’s main failure in this game occurred with their guards’ shooting. Rafer Alston shot a paltry 5-of-15, David Wesley was only 3-of-11 — falling in love too much with the three-pointer (1-of-8) — and Keith Bogans was 2-of-6.
It was ironic this kind of shooting occurred on the same day the Rockets waived Jon Barry. I understand the Rockets were doing Barry a favor by giving him the opportunity to sign with a team so he could have a chance to play in this year’s playoffs. But it’s hard to stomach the fact that Barry could have contributed something from the outside in this game and the rest of the season.
On the bright side, Chuck Hayes was awesome, making all five of his field goal attempts, scoring 11 points and grabbing four boards in only 14 minutes.
The other good thing from Wednesday night is that the Lakers were upset by the Portland Trailblazers , so the Rockets are still only 4 games back in their quest for the final playoff spot in the West. It doesn’t get any easier for the Rockets’ in their next game when they play the Northwest division leading Denver Nuggets (31-27).
To see the boxscore from the game, click here.
To read the Houston Chronicle’s article about the game, click here.