The Sixers and Rockets played a tight game throughout, with neither team holding more than a two-point lead at the end of any period. However, in the fourth quarter it appeared for a bit like Philadelphia was going to pull away and take care of Houston with relative ease, before the Rockets came back to life.
Philly led by eight with three minutes to play before giving up a 9-0 run to the Rockets to close the game, as the Sixers’ offense was unable to get anything to fall. The Rockets got some help from everyone, but the big bucket came from Eric Gordon.
On the final play, James Harden took the inbound and was forced to go left towards the corner where Gordon was standing. Harden lost his balance a bit and shoveled a pass to Gordon, who took one side-step dribble to elude a closing Joel Embiid and hoisted what would be the game-winning three just before the buzzer went off.
It was a great play by Gordon to know the situation and that he had just enough time to take that dribble to give himself space — there’s a reason every three-point shooter works on that side-step, one dribble shot over and over in practice and pregame shootaround. For the Rockets, it helps them to a 4-1 record as they look to stay near the top of the West until Chris Paul can come back. Meanwhile, it’s yet another tough loss for a Sixers team that seems so close, but as happens with young teams, is still trying to learn how to win and close out games.