In stretches when the Rockets play well and Oklahoma City doesn’t, Houston can beat the Thunder. A few minutes here, a few minutes there, perhaps a quarter. But watching this series hasn’t changed anyone’s opinion that the Rockets will beat the Thunder four times which is what it would take to win the series. That said the discussion over the next couple of days should be about how the Rockets pulled off a surprise and whether they can withstand the Thunder roaring back with a vengeance in game 3. Instead, a gritty effort Wednesday night went to waste and Houston comes back home trailing the seven-game series 2-0 after a 105-102 loss. Game 3 at Toyota Center could provide an energy that might propel the Rockets over the hump in a game but you get the feeling that this was one that got away. A 25-2 fourth-quarter run including 16 straight points, to take a 95-91 speaks to the Rockets’ resilience and toughness. This is a team with heart. Maybe they play a simple style with a straightforward coach who doesn’t try to trick anybody, but that’s OK. As we’ve said from the start of the season, this team is fun to watch. Tonight was no exception. No, they can’t beat OKC four times in the next five games. But at least they don’t carry the folding gene. Patrick Beverley, inserted into the starting lineup to take some pressure off Jeremy Lin and to chase Russell Westbrook, was forced into 41 minutes of action when Lin went down with a chest injry. Beverley made a huge difference. The Rockets won’t even argue with you that they aren’t as talented as the Thunder. They know they have little margin for error. A tough call goes against them. It’s a killer. Refs miss a blatant foul on a grab by our man Kendrick Perkins and the resulting 3-pointer is almost impossible to overcome.
Rockets show heart in tough loss, but getting a win a tougher task
Houston Chronicle | Apr 25