Rockets Close Out January on Low Note Thanks to In-State Rivals

Beating the Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs would have been a great way for the Houston Rockets to end the month.

The Mavericks and Spurs had something to say about that though.

Thursday night the Rockets nearly made history by completing the best comeback in team history. A poor first quarter that resulted in just 15 points helped the Rockets get into a 25 point hole at one point in the second quarter. The team was able to close the gap to 64-47 by half time, but the outlook was not good.

Something clicked in the second half and the Rockets were suddenly giving the Mavericks more than they could handle. A 34-point third quarter closed the gap down to seven. An exciting fourth quarter saw the team claw back to within a point after a second chance basket by Luis Scola with less than a minute to go.

With that basket by Scola Houston came within a basket of overcoming the largest deficit in team history; the previous high was a 23-point hole the team overcame against the Portland Trailblazers on January 22, 1977.

The comeback was not meant to be though. Dallas opened up a six point lead in the final seconds and held on to win 111-106.

“When we cut it to seven in the third, it was like, ‘OK, we can do it. It’s a long game. We can do this,’ ” Rockets center Chuck Hayes said. “We kept getting stops. We started to hit some shots. The effort was there. But honestly, it hurts more. You fight back for so long. You come so close. And you still come up short.”

After taking Friday off the team had a tough task in store for them Saturday if they were going to rebound from the failed comeback in the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs own the league’s best record and have been nearly impossible to beat at home.

In the first quarter the Rockets made it clear they came to play and were not intimidated by the division leading Spurs by getting out to a one point lead. San Antonio pulled ahead by two at the end of the half. The game remained close after three with the Spurs only leading by five points, 76-71.

The fourth quarter was a different story. The San Antonio that has only lost seven games so far this season took over getting out to a 17-point lead at one point. San Antonio ended up handing the Rockets their second loss in a row, 108-95.

At 22-27 the Rockets are four games behind the No 8 seed Portland Trailblazers. They will look to end the mini-losing streak when they take on the Lakers in Los Angeles February 1.
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