NBA Basketball

104
Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Brooklyn 23 29 21 31 104
Houston 30 37 23 24 114
114
5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 PM MST8:00 PM EST5:00 UAE (+1)02:0020:00 ET7:00 PM CT23:00 , December 8, 2021
Toyota Center, Houston, Texas  Attendance: 15,834

New-and-improved Rockets face stern test from Nets

According to STATS
According to STATS

Brooklyn Nets at Houston Rockets

  1. Brooklyn has won four of its last five games against Houston, something the franchise hasn't done since a five-game stretch that ended in March 2003. Both Nets wins last season came by double digits.
  2. The Nets won against the Mavericks, 102-99, while holding the Mavericks to just 13 points in the fourth quarter. It was the fewest points Brooklyn has allowed in the closing quarter all season, with the Nets moving to 5-1 this season when they allow 20 or fewer points in the fourth.
  3. Kevin Durant put up 24 points on 10-for-22 shooting against the Mavericks, his 22nd game of the season scoring at least 20 points. He is tied with Zach LaVine for the most such games this season.
  4. Over its last six games (6-0) Houston is averaging 17.3 made threes on 40.8 percent accuracy. Leading up to the win streak, the Rockets were making just 11.1 threes per game on 30.9 percent shooting, going 1-16 in those contests.
  5. Not including the win over Oklahoma City, where he exited early with a sprained ankle, Christian Wood is averaging 23.2 points and 13.8 rebounds over Houston's winning streak while making 52.4 percent of his shots and 58.3 percent (14-for-24) of his threes.
  6. While James Harden is averaging 27.5 points per game against his former teams in his career (Oklahoma City, Houston), his teams have a combined record of 17-15 in those games.

For the opening few minutes of their home victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday, the Houston Rockets looked the part of a team ranked last in the NBA in turnovers.

The Rockets committed four quick turnovers and were showcasing their primary weakness, one at the root of the 15-game losing skid that dropped them to the bottom of the NBA standings just before Thanksgiving.

Houston has improved in other areas during its current six-game winning streak, but turnovers remain the Rockets' most glaring issue entering a Wednesday matchup with the visiting Brooklyn Nets.

Brooklyn, which owns the Eastern Conference's best record, arrives after a 102-99 road win over the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday.

The Rockets, after the rocky start Sunday, finished with only 14 turnovers by the close of their 118-108 victory. They gave the ball away just five times in the second half to fend off the Pelicans' late run.

Houston has displayed a surprising ability to close games recently with superior ball security in the moments that are the most intense.

"We were turning the ball over like you can't believe earlier in the season just because we were not familiar with each other, not familiar with how we play," Rockets coach Stephen Silas said. "We're slowly but surely getting to a point where we're not turning it over as much and we are executing down the stretch."

Before holding off the Pelicans in the fourth quarter, the Rockets did the same against the Chicago Bulls, defeated the Charlotte Hornets in overtime, beat the Oklahoma City Thunder twice and then the Orlando Magic at bay.

Whereas the Rockets were close to winning tight games earlier this season, they have solved the mystery of actually claiming those contests over the past two weeks. It's been quite the turnaround.

"At the beginning, frankly, we didn't know what we were doing," Silas said. "We hadn't been through those experiences. We had just had training camp and we had game after game after game with guys who hadn't been through those moments. The more we do it, the better we get at it. It's still super early in the season."

The Nets improved to 9-2 on the road by prevailing in Dallas, their seventh victory in their last nine games overall. Brooklyn trailed by as many as 17 points in the third quarter and did not take its first lead until James Harden sank a pair of free throws with 6:41 remaining.

Brooklyn continues to discover paths to victory without Kyrie Irving (not with the team) and Joe Harris (ankle surgery). Harden flirted with a triple-double against the Mavericks (23 points, 12 assists, nine rebounds) while Kevin Durant added 24 points, seven rebounds and three assists.

The Nets continue to receive contributions from veterans. LaMarcus Aldridge (15 points, five boards) and James Johnson (12 points, four rebounds and four assists off the bench) filled those gaps in Dallas.

"I'm extremely proud of our group," Nets coach Steve Nash said. "We've faced a lot of things already this year and we sit at the top of the East. We've had a lot of change: 10 new guys, Kyrie not being with us, some injuries. So for us to put it together and compete, I'm proud of them.

"I think we're knocking on the door of elevating our play into a higher category, and that's the process we have to undertake this year -- and we have to stay with it. I'm optimistic."

--Field Level Media

Updated December 8, 2021

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