All season long everyone has talked about how bad the Rockets have been in the fourth quarter. It’s the number one reason why the Rockets came into tonight’s game with a 5-12 record. They have not been able to finish games. That was not the case against the Lakers. Not only did they outplay the champs, they dominated them in the final 12 minutes.
The Rockets trailed by two entering the fourth. They ended it up 10. They outscored the Lakers 33-21, and the only reason the Lakers were able to muster 21 was because they hit all 10 free throws they threw up. Los Angeles was just 5-for-22 from the field (22.7%), and 1-for-10 from behind the three point arc.
Houston’s 33 fourth quarter points was their highest scoring 12 minutes of the game. They shot 60% from the field (9-for-15), and nailed all three treys they fired up. They also dished out seven assists. The great thing about it was that everyone contributed. Nine players logged at least three and a half minutes in the period, and the only player that was in for nine minutes or more was Jordan Hill of all people. He only had two points, but his defense against Pau Gasol was sensational.
I thought the Rockets were a playoff team before the season, and they certainly haven’t lived up to those expectations through 18 games, but there was something very encouraging about the final twelve minutes of tonight’s. Maybe the fourth quarter woes are over. If they are, the Rockets will be a headache for teams the rest of the season, and oh ya, Yao Ming and Aaron Brooks will be back within in the next two weeks.