• Brian L. Barefield

Late Game Collapse: OKC uses late game run to defeat the Rockets 117-114 to even the series

Photo Credit/ Houston Rockets

For the second game in a row the Houston Rockets (2-2) have been good, but just not good enough to finish. After losing Game 3 on Saturday in overtime due to the inefficiency to slow down big runs by the Oklahoma City Thunder (2-2) at the end of quarters, the Rockets let it happen again in Game 4. OKC used a 22-7 run at the end of the third quarter to erase a Houston 15-point lead and would go on to defeat Houston by a score of 117-114 to even the series at two games apiece.

''I think our team all season has dealt with adversity really, really good,'' said Chris Paul who finished the game with 26 points with 22 of those coming in the second half. ''We just tried to keep playing, keep fighting and stayed in the game.''

Tied at the half at 60, Houston opened up the second half on fire going 8-for-8 beyond the arc and using an 11-0 run to open up an early 15-point lead on OKC. But just when it looked like the Rockets were about to run away with the game, they went ice cold from three-point range missing the next 20 out of 23 they attempted. It allowed the Thunder to stay competitive down the stretch as the Rockets defense gave up too many easy shots while missing on the other end.

Houston’s defense allowed backup guard Dennis Schroeder to do whatever he wanted in the game as he scored a career playoff-high 30 points off the bench.

''This game, we needed better individual defense,'' Rockets guard Eric Gordon said after the game. ''They really had it going, and they just tried to spread us out and go one-on-one. We scored enough but they just continued to keep scoring and that was really the name of the game.''

Photo Credit/Houston Rockets

Rockets superstar James Harden lead all scorers with 32 points and added 15 assists to go along with eight rebounds. But he echoed his teammates sentiments when asked what the key to the game was.

“We relaxed,” said Harden. “We relaxed and they gain confidence. We don’t score the basketball, and then we don’t get back defensively. Obviously, teams are going to make runs, but it’s the way they made their run. We weren’t getting shots we wanted offensively, and defensively, we weren’t sticking to our principles. So, it was a disaster on both ends.”

Houston will be back in action against OKC for Game 5 on Wednesday.

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