The Rockets had no business winning this game. The teams flip-flopped the first two quarters with Philly outscoring Houston, 29-18, in the first, and Houston outscoring Philly, 28-19, in the second. But then the Sixers — the only winless team left in the NBA — took the third by six points and an upset was officially brewing when Tony Wroten put them ahead by three with just 51 seconds left. Except they blew it, gift-wrapping James Harden and the Rockets a home win they don’t deserve.
Dwight Howard had 21 (9/14) and 16, and while Harden only shot 41 percent from the field (10/24), he intercepted a Sixers pass and got fouled with 36 seconds left. Sixers coach Brett Brown foolishly kicked the basketball after the foul was called on Harden’s drive, which is an automatic technical. Harden missed the extra shot, but connected on the next two. Michael Carter-Williams lost the ball out of bounds on the next play and all of a sudden the Rockets were only down one with 16 seconds left.
They inbounded the ball to Harden and Howard came up beyond the three-point line to take care of MCW on his blind side. With Harden going downhill and the tricky footwork of his little Eurostep, it was a simple left-handed layup and the Rockets were in control, 88-87, with nine seconds remaining.
Carter-Williams — not Wroten, who was their leading scorer with 19 — isolated on the wing and missed a long jumper at the buzzer, game over.
Philadelphia lost again, and Carter-Williams has a lot of Ellen to catch up on.
Will the Sixers ever win a game?
Follow Spencer on Twitter at @SpencerTyrel.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.