The Rockets put up a fight on the second night of a back-to-back, but Anthony Davis was too much as the Pelicans left Houston with a 99-90 win.
Davis started hot, scoring the Pelicans’ first eight consecutive points. He never let up and finished the game with 30.
“Obviously, [Davis is] a talented player,” James Harden said. “Just tonight from the beginning we didn’t have any legs. We just didn’t have it tonight. Tough game. We’re a no excuse team, but we just didn’t have it. It’s one of those days.”
The Rockets again struggled with misses in the paint as several close shots rolled off the rim early. It didn’t help that Davis also blocked five shots on the night.
“We didn’t play very well tonight,” Kevin McHale said. “It had nothing to do with last night. Last night’s game is over. We didn’t finish very well around the rim tonight. We had a heck of a time trying to keep the ball out of the paint. (Jrue) Holiday was kind of going where he wants. We made a lot of mistakes defensively tonight that allowed them to have a 34 point 4th quarter.”
Yet, the Rockets continued to attack the rim. Dwight Howard made up for two early misses with a dunk over former teammate Omer Asik. Howard finished the game with 17 points and 13 rebounds – his 10th double-double in the 13 games he’s played this season.
Howard also passed Coach Kevin McHale for 25th on the all-time blocked shots list. In a classy gesture, McHale walked over to Howard and fist bumped him after it was announced in-arena.
After scoring 41 points on a season-high 18-21 FT last night in Denver, James Harden didn’t attempt a free throw until early in the third quarter. He finished with 21 points on 8-23 FG.
The Rockets did rally in the third quarter thanks to timely threes off the bench from Troy Daniels. With Houston down as many as 10, Daniels checked in and hit three three-pointers to spark a rally that saw the Rockets take a three-point lead heading into the fourth.
“Troy made three 3’s. We wanted to get some stops and push. We held them to 19 in a quarter, so our defense we wanted to run off it. We just weren’t able to sustain anything tonight, any kind of push. Defensively, we strung together stops. They shot 46%, we just didn’t have a whole lot of zip. Everything felt hard tonight. There weren’t a lot of easy things going on out there,” McHale said.
Fatigue seemed to get the best of the Rockets as the Pelicans started the fourth on a 12-5 run. They eventually matched their 10-point lead as they ran away with the victory.
The Rockets next face Atlanta at home on Saturday.