It doesn’t matter. It just matters that he did and may have saved the Rockets season after giving up an 11-point lead late in the fourth quarter and had to go to overtime to prevent falling into a 3-0 hole (something no NBA team has ever escaped from).
The hero tonight in the 121-116 Rockets win was Troy Daniels, who drained a 3-pointer with 12 seconds left after entering the game for the first time following Chandler Parsons’ fouling out in overtime. Daniel played 20 minutes in the game and made three of his six 3-pointers, so maybe Portland should have known not to leave him.
Then again, he played a mere 75 minutes in five games with the Rockets. He did most of his work this year in the D-League, scoring 21.5 points per game in 48 games for Rio Grande. He shot 40.1 percent from beyond the arc this season. Trusting Daniels in this situation showed some incredible foresight from Kevin McHale. That decision turned out to be the right one.
Houston raced out to the lead with a 30-point quarter in the first quarter and lost the lead by halftime. The team spent the third and fourth quarters rebuilding its lead. But the Rockets faced a drought in the second quarter and fourth quarter that allowed the Trail Blazers back into the game.
Damian Lillard abused his defenders late in the game — mostly James Harden — and got to the basket to lead Portland back. It was Nicolas Batum’s 3-pointer that forced overtime and he nearly made another game-tying 3-pointer at the end of overtime. The brilliant play got him a great look, but the shot fell off the back iron.
Lillard scored 30 points and Batum had 26 points. Harden provided Dwight Howard with some offensive help, scoring 37 points on 13-for-35 shooting. Howard had 24 points and 12 rebounds.