The "WOW Factor" Rockets defeat Portland to win their fourth straight.
Photo Credit/Houston Rockets
The Houston Rockets have enjoyed some “WOW” moments throughout the team’s history.
Whether it was watching former center Ralph Sampson hitting the game winning shot in Game 5 of the 1986 Western Conference Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers to send the Rockets to the NBA Finals. Or, it could have been former forward Mario Elie’s “Kiss of Death” game winning three-pointer in Game 7 of the 1995 Western Conference Semifinals against the Phoenix Suns?
What about former shooting guard Tracy McGrady’s 13 points in 33 seconds to help the Rockets defeat the San Antonio Spurs?
There are many more moments throughout the Rockets history that has that “WOW Factor” to it and on Thursday night at the Toyota Center first-year head coach Stephen Silas had his as the Houston Rockets (8-9) defeated the Portland Trailblazers (9-8) 104-101 to extend their winning streak to a season high four games.
Houston was led by rising superstar Christian Wood who returned to the lineup after missing three games with a sprained right ankle. He finished the game with 22 points and 12 rebounds for his eighth double-double of the season. Victor Oladipo added 25 points and John Wall had 20 points in the win.
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“They all scored over 20 points, but it was the defensive end that I was really satisfied with,” said coach Silas after having a nice laugh when asked about the WOW Factor social media nickname given to his top three players. “That is going to be something I continue to talk about with this group. In order for us to win like we have been in these last four games, it really is a defensive mindset that all three of those guys, the ‘WOW Factor’ has to be on the defensive end and that will take care of the offensive end if we are doing it correctly.”
Photo Credit/Houston Rockets
Thursday night was the first time this season that coach Silas had all his players available and also the first time that Wood, Oladipo, and Wall have all been on the floor together. As expected, they started out slow giving up 32 first quarter points and falling behind by as many as 20 points to Portland who was led by superstar point guard Damian Lillard who had 13 points during that time.
Houston settled down in the second quarter finally finding their comfortable spots on the floor and doubled up the Trailblazers by holding them to 18 points while scoring 36 and taking a slim three-point lead into the half 53-50. Both teams played each other evenly in the second half but it was the Rockets who were able to take over late to secure the victory behind the play of Oladipo who had 13 second half points.
The Rockets are starting to establish their own identity after trading away the face of the franchise in James Harden earlier this month. John Wall attributes that to the mindset of all of the players in the locker room being on the same page.
“Once we made the trades happen and we got the team that we wanted and the guys that wanted to be here and once we all committed to what we wanted to do, we were going to be a good team. Everybody has something to prove."