Playing mere hours after the shocking dismissal of coach Kevin McHale, the Houston Rockets took the visiting Blazers to overtime with a furious fourth quarter rally capped by this running 30-footer from Brewer that tied the game at 99-99 with .9 seconds remaining. Just like interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff drew it up, right?
Well, probably not. But a key adjustment the 36-year-old made that helped his team rebound from a 17-point third quarter deficit to earn a 108-103 victory was certainly by design.
With the Rockets down big, they began to rely on post-ups from Harden – an action that accounted for just 4.3 percent of his possessions last season, according to Synergy. The result wasn’t just a Houston comeback, but a few buckets of the absolutely dazzling variety.
These two came at the beginning of overtime, giving the Rockets a lead they’d never relinquish.
Will this be the game that turns Houston’s season around? Maybe, but it certainly bears remembering that Portland isn’t exactly a playoff contender. The Blazers came into Wednesday’s contest losers of six consecutive games. It’s not like Bickerstaff and company can count on 45 points, eight rebounds, 11 assists, and five steals from Harden on a nightly basis, either.
Either way, the Rockets desperately needed some good vibes following the day’s earlier news. And thanks to Brewer’s shot and Harden’s outright dominance, they got it with aplomb.