The Rockets followed up their worst loss of the season with their biggest win in a 115-79 victory over the Heat.
The Rockets’ 36-point victory was highlighted by a 38-point third quarter, their highest-scoring quarter of the season. Houston also held Miami to just 13 points in the fourth quarter – the lowest scoring quarter against the Rockets this season.
“That was really crazy, but we had to come out and play hard tonight. Last night, we just didn’t have it. We didn’t play hard and we didn’t have any energy. Tonight, we came back and bounced back. Thats the way you’re supposed to bounce back,” Corey Brewer said.
The Rockets began the game swarming the Heat with three steals in the first three minutes, two of them by Trevor Ariza, who finished the game with a career-high-tying six steals.
“We felt we were embarrassed last night,” Ariza said. “We know that we’re a better team than what we showed. Tonight, we needed to try to change things around. The best way to do that is to step it up on the defensive end and we did that tonight.”
Reinserted in to the starting lineup, Donatas Motiejunas had 12 points and three assists. This marks his 17th double-digit scoring performance of the season. He had just 13 such games in all of the 2013-14 season.
After going scoreless in the first quarter, Dwight Howard erupted for 19 of his 23 points in the second, including eight points in the first three minutes as the Rockets started the quarter with a 15-2 run and finished with a 61-49 lead at halftime.
“We took James out and really tried to make an effort to get the ball to Dwight. Our guys did a nice job of getting it to him. He was patient down there tonight. He was aggressive and patient,” Kevin McHale said.
This was the seventh game in which the Rockets scored 60+ points in a half. They now have a 7-0 record in those games.
The Rockets started the third quarter with a 13-4 run to put the game out of reach with 20 minutes left to play. James Harden scored 15 of his 28 points in the third to give the Rockets a 34-point lead going into the fourth that allowed the starters to get a bit of rest.
“We had a lot of energy. Guys really played well. We shared the ball on offense. On defense, we helped each other out,” Harden said.
With tonight’s win, the Rockets picked up their first season-series sweep of the Heat since the 2008-09 season.
The Rockets begin a three game Eastern Conference road trip Monday in Chicago.