As much as his defense gets him on the court, Rockets guard Pat Beverley is fond of one part of his offensive game. He works on it and he talks about it. Only occasionally, however, will he look to it. His job for the road trip remained as expected – to defend three of the league’s top-scoring point guards, but with Damian Lillard and Steph Curry held in check on consecutive nights and Isaiah Thomas ahead on Sunday, the Rockets needed some late buckets. They had scored well throughout. James Harden had a few strong runs. Chandler Parsons bounced back from Thursday’s struggles and continued back pain. Dwight Howard was not only perfect from the line, but nailed a step-back 3-pointer at the shot clock buzzer. With the game on the line, however, Beverley called upon his floater that he considers such an important part of his game. With the game tied and the Oracle Arena crowd into its full-throated “defense” chant, Beverley drained a runner. He nailed a one-on-one jumper over Curry and then nailed a tear-drop floater, lifting the Rockets past the Warriors, 116-112, with a stunning four-minute run to close out their second win against the Warriors in eight days. “Pat always talks about his float game,” Rockets assistant coach Kelvin Sampson said. “ Well, his float game last night stunk. Tonight, his float game was pretty good. He hit big shots.” Beverley made just 3 of 10 shots in Portland, but he helped hold Lillard to 1 of 10 shooting. On Friday, he hounded Curry to 5 of 12 shooting with six turnovers. But with the game on the line and on the floor in which Curry has so often taken over, as with Wednesday’s buzzer beater against the Mavericks, Beverley’s three buckets over his summer workout partner were the difference. “It goes further than that,” Beverley said. “Me and Stephen have known each other since high school. I was just happy to go out there and play against him. “I was trying to make some plays. I was actually trying to get the ball back to James and they kind of overplayed him and I made a play at the end of the shot clock.” Beverley finished with 16 points on 7 of 9 shooting, three shy of his career high, but not different from the sort of scoring teammates have said he can produce more regularly if the ball moves and he looks to be aggressive. “When we have a balanced attack like that, it makes it so much harder to guard,” Parsons said. “Patrick Beverley made some big shots in the fourth quarter. Those were huge for us. James was great all game long. Dwight was great. It makes our team so much harder to guard than just one guy. “He’s going to keep shooting that thing no matter what. It’s kind of his go-to shot. He came up big for us. He left a few short last game, but he bounced back great.” He was not the only one, but Howard’s perfect shooting from the line was not entirely an aberration. In the past 10 games, he has made 61.9 percent of his free throws. In the past five games, he has made 67.9 percent. He felt so confident on Friday, he was even willing to tempt fate. “I told James, “It’s the first game I hit 100 percent,” Howard said, though it really wasn’t. “I was like, ‘Oh man, too much time left.’ I got to the free throw line and said, ‘I can’t miss these.’” Howard made three of those free throws down the stretch, including on the put-back three-point play when the Warriors were making their move. The Rockets took a nine-point lead into the fourth quarter but, as with the start of the fourth quarter the night before, the work of the first 32 minutes was quickly erased. As with Thursday in Portland, the Rockets could not get into their offense. But rather than fire up contested 3s, they turned the ball over on four-consecutive possessions, including the offensive foul that sent Howard to the bench with five fouls with 10 minutes left.
Rockets’ offense too much for Warriors to handle
Houston Chronicle | Dec 14