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Breaking down '13 in 2:22', just for fun

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by Nero, Mar 16, 2012.

  1. Nero

    Nero Member

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    I thought it might be nice to take a little bit of a break from the wailing and gnashing of teeth surrounding the trade deadline activity, and decided to do some breakdown and analysis of what should eventually become known as the '13 in 2:22' game, and it could possibly end up in Rockets lore, maybe one level down from the oh-so-sweet '13 in 35' game we love so much.

    I am referring to the Rockets game in OKC against the Thunder on March 13, 2012.

    The Rockets ended up winning the game, 104-103, and it was every bit as exciting as the score might indicate.

    The Rockets played extremely tough throughout the entire game against the team which many consider to be the best in the league this year, and this was especially remarkable because the Rockets were missing two of their top players in Kyle Lowry and Kevin Martin.

    The bench therefore was required to step up and play big, and they did so, particularly Goran Dragic and Courtney Lee.

    The game was extremely close most of the way, with Houston managing to keep a very slight but pesky lead through the first three quarters with things becoming more and more chippy between the teams as the game progressed.

    But as always seems to be the case with this Rockets team this season, the opponent began to pull away late in the game, and a close contest most of the game began to have the smell of inevitability for the far superior home team.

    I have watched the ending of this game several times, and upon closer inspection, there were several things which I found to be interesting, and which I thought might be worth taking a closer look, and breaking it down in some detail here.

    The breakdown:

    The crumbling of the game for the Rockets began in earnest at approximately the 6-minute mark of the 4th quarter. Luis Scola had just made two free throws to bring the score to 93-91, advantage OKC.

    From that point, James Harden of OKC began to take over the game.

    At the 5:38 mark, Harden drives the lane, Rockets defenders converge, and Harden dishes to Serge Ibaka for an easy slam, OKC leads 95-91.

    Parsons misses a jumper after a very nice fake, taking a couple dribbles closer, it was a good clean shot, but missed to the left. OKC rebounds.

    Harden again controls the ball for OKC, but is met at the half court line by Courtney Lee. At the 4:57 mark, Harden passes into the lane to Kendrick Perkins, who immediately passes out to the baseline where Ibaka nails a 20-foot jumper. OKC now leads 97-91, and we begin to get the sense that this game is going to slip away. We have no answer for stopping Harden.

    At the 4:34 mark, this is where things start to get interesting. Dragic has the ball, near the 3-point line on the right side, being guarded by Russell Westbrook. Dragic fakes and spins, and Westbrook falls to the floor, having rolled an already very sore and tender ankle after stepping on Ibaka's foot. A non-shooting foul is called on OKC, Rockets retain possession. Dragic then misses a 3-point shot, OKC rebounds.

    At the 4:28 mark, Harden once again controls the OKC offense, and essentially the same play occurs again as last time. Courtney Lee and Scola double-team Harden at almost the half-court line. Harden once again easily passes in to Perkins, who again easily passes to Ibaka slicing to the basket along the baseline, for another easy dunk. OKC now leads 99-91, and even Bill Worrell now concedes that OKC is going to win the game, and will likely even be in the NBA finals, as 'the deepest team in the league.

    Timeout at 4:11.

    The game resumes, Rockets pass the ball around the perimeter, and Scola misses a jumper from the top of the key, OKC rebounds, Harden again runs the offense. At the 3:47 mark, Lee again picks up Harden near half court, and this time, Harden decides to try to drive around Lee. Harden breaks to his right, Lee admirably stays in his way. Harden seems to stumble, loses the ball, Lee dives for it and recovers, lying on his back, surrounded by OKC players. In desperation, Lee hurls the ball in the general direction of both Dragic and Parsons, but the ball ends up in the hands of Kevin Durant, so the sudden burst of hope delivered by the Rockets gaining a turnover were immediately dashed by them turning it back over instantly.

    3:39 mark, Durant takes the recovered ball, and drives into the lane for what should be an easy monster dunk. Patrick Patterson waits in front of him, and stands his ground as Durant takes to the air. Durant's plant-foot slips just as he is taking to the air, and he crashes into Patterson, twists to his right in mid-flight, misses the shot, and crashes hard onto his back, the back of his head also slamming into the floor in the impact. It looks like a painful nasty fall, but Durant seems to be ok. It should be noted that Patterson did absolutely nothing 'dirty' or unethical on the play, and it is good that no one seems to have had a thing to say about it. Patterson defended that play exactly properly.

    But a foul was called, and Durant makes one of two foul shots, and OKC now leads by nine, 100-91. Budinger enters the game for Scola.

    Rockets ball, and the Rockets throw the ball away, 3:30 mark, Harden again brings the ball up for OKC. The game is officially slipping away, with OKC on a 14-2 run.

    This time, Lee picks up Harden, same spot as before, but Patterson switches onto him, and, with the shot-clock winding down, drives into the lane to his left, throws up a shot, misses, but Ibaka is there for the offensive rebound and put-back slam, and at the 3:05 mark, OKC now leads by 11, 102-91.

    But wait. The officials are actually paying enough attention to notice that Ibaka's shot MAY have been after the buzzer, but would wait until the next dead ball to examine the replay, so for the moment, the bucket stands.

    2:55 mark, Rockets ball. Parsons drives past Ibaka for an easy layup, but the ball rolls off the front of the rim, and OKC again gets the rebound. Hopes are dimmer and dimmer for the Rockets in this game.

    But this time, instead of once again giving the ball to Harden, the ball goes to Westbrook, who dribbles down court on the left side. Dragic picks up Westbrook, who passes to Durant on the left side. Durant easily drives past Budinger, lays it up from under the basket, misses, but once again Ibaka is there for the offensive rebound and follow slam.

    2:28 mark of the 4th quarter, OKC leads Houston by 13, 104-91.

    Dragic races up court with the ball, hesitates, then blows past Westbrook for an easy layup, Rockets now trail by 11 again, 104-93 at the 2:22 mark.

    Once again however, instead of Harden, it is Westbrook bringing the ball up. Remember, Westbrook has been fighting a sore ankle for several weeks, and just turned it again less than 5 minutes before. This is important because..

    ..Dragic is playing extremely tight defense on Westbrook, clearly annoying the OKC point guard. Westbrook dribbles, then drives into the lane and throws up an air ball. Parsons grabs the ball and races up court, firing a long pass to Patterson directly under the basket for another easy Rockets slam.

    Rockets now trail by 9, 104-95 at the 1:50 mark.

    OKC calls time out, and the officials take the opportunity to examine the replay of Ibaka's put-back slam from before. They determine the shot did in fact come after the buzzer, and deduct two points from OKC, which then means the Rockets now trail by only 7, 102-95. This was a critical call, and the officials made the correct decision here, as replays showed.

    Play resumes, with the Rockets in a full-court press. Lee sticks to Harden like glue, so the ball once again goes to Westbrook. Dragic picks up Westbrook as soon as he has the ball, under his own basket, so Westbrook has to deal with the pesky Dragic all the way up the court.

    Budinger then steps up as the ball is passed to Durant. Chase plays perfect defense in the face of Durant, and Durant is forced to toss up yet another air ball for OKC. Parsons rebounds and is immediately fouled by Ibaka.

    1:31 mark, Rockets ball. Dragic passes inside the lane to Patterson, who whips the ball to a wide-open Budinger on the right baseline, who calmly nails a 3-pointer. 1:22 mark, Rockets now trail by only 4 points, 102-98.

    Again, OKC fails to get the ball into Harden's hands, and Westbrook once again brings the ball up, with Dragic in his face as soon as he touches the ball.

    1:06 mark, Westbrook picks up his dribble, and is hounded by Dragic, who pokes the ball away from him. The loose ball is recovered by the streaking Lee, but is unable to take the ball to the basket. Instead, the Rockets set up, and Budinger once again has a clean shot at a 3, but misses, and the ball is again in Westbrook's hands at the :52 mark. Of note: Parsons was right there for one of his beloved aerial put-back slams, had only the ball not bounced too far away on the shot.

    Dragic again hounds Westbrook, and as Westbrook drives to his left into the lane, he steps onto Dragic's foot, and BOTH players roll their ankles at the same time. Westbrook is frustrated and angry, having already hurt the already-sore ankle just a few minutes before. Westbrook jumps to his feet and makes an aggressive move toward Dragic, but is held back by Courtney Lee. Dragic is unimpressed by the posturing of Westbrook.

    A technical foul is called on Westbrook, because that sort of aggressive move toward a player is prohibited.

    Lee sinks the free throw, and now the Rockets trail by only 3, 102-99.

    A foul was called on Dragic on the play however, so Westbrook goes to the line for two shots. Westbrook, normally an 82% free throw shooter, misses the first shot, but makes the second.

    :48.5 mark, Rockets trail by 4, 103-99. Timeout.

    Play resumes, Parsons inbounds the ball to Dragic, who drives down the left side of the lane, and fires a pass to Lee on the right baseline. Lee fakes a pass out to Parsons, Durant bites on the fake, and Lee drives uncontested to the basket for another easy layup. :41.4 mark, Rockets now trail by only 2 points, 103-101.

    Again, Westbrook brings the ball up with Dragic dogging his every step.

    Perkins sets a pick at half court, And Westbrook drives around Perkins, and Perkins knocks Dragic off of Westbrook.

    Westbrook is picked up immediately by Patterson, with Dragic trailing close behind.

    This is the critical moment of the game: at the :32.8 mark, Westbrook attempts to drive to his right, into the lane, but Dragic has trailed the play, and lunges at the ball from behind, pokes the ball free and into the hands of Lee once again. Another OKC turnover by Westbrook.

    Lee brings the ball up court, the Rockets do not call time out.

    Players for both teams scramble furiously, as the clock ticks down, but OKC still ahead by 2.

    Lee passes to Parsons, and Westbrook almost steals the ball, but instead knocks the ball to Dragic. Dragic drives into the middle of the lane, spins, fakes, jumps and passes to Lee, now wide open on the left baseline. Lee rises up for the 3-point shot, and bangs the ball home.

    :15.1 mark, Rockets now amazingly lead, 104-103.

    Noteworthy on that play, both Budinger and Parsons were both situated perfectly for an offensive rebound and put-back if Lee's shot had missed.

    Rockets are on a 13-1 run. OKC calls time out.

    Play resumes, OKC trailing by 1 point, 15 seconds to go, things still look extremely scary for Houston. Scola replaces Budinger in the lineup.

    Westbrook dribbles, clock ticks, the ball ends up in Durant's hands, with Parsons defending.

    Durant fumbles the ball at the top of the key, spins, and has to rise for an off-balance fade-away, with Parsons defending perfectly on the play, at the :04.8 mark.

    The ball bounces out, and once again Ibaka is there for the offensive rebound.

    As he goes up for the game-winning slam, Patterson blocks the shot from behind, at the :01.8 mark.

    Scola taps the ball to Parsons, who throws the ball into the air as the final buzzer sounds.

    Rockets players and coaches are ecstatic, having just won a game for the archives. It was an amazing win, once that should be cherished for a long time.

    The things I took from this game are these:

    Dragic has the guts and heart of a lion. I hope the Rockets manage to hang onto this kid for a long time.

    Patterson always seems to be in the right pace at the right time defensively.

    Lee is clutch, it is a crime that he does not get more playing time and recognition on this team.

    Parsons. Wow. How did this kid fall into the 2nd round? Chandler Parsons should have been a lottery pick, it is clear now. He is that good.

    Lastly:

    Westbrook. Westbrook Westbrook Westbrook.

    If I were a fan of OKC, I would be so furiously angry at Westbrook.

    The kid is talented, very talented. But he is talented at, say, an 8 on a 10-point scale. But he believes he is a 10 on that scale, and as such, as talented as he is, he becomes their Achilles heel. He is not as good as he thinks he is, and when you have that on a team with Durant, Harden and Ibaka, he is going to end up costing them games, as he did this one.

    As much as the Rockets did to win this game, they do not even sniff a victory without Westbrook dooming OKC as well.

    I would go so far as to say, OKC will probably NOT advance very far in the playoffs as long as Westbrook continues to play the way he plays in clutch situations. Some may call it blasphemy, but I think OKC should probably explore trading the guy away while his value is still high. I suspect if OKC fails to advance as far as they should this year, that is exactly what they will do.

    How do the OKC coaches NOT demand the ball go back into Harden's hands??

    Amazing epic fail on OKC's part.

    One final thing: I am not a Kevin Martin hater, I don't dislike the guy, I think he is a good NBA player, when in the right situation. That said, there is no way the Rockets win this game if Martin is on the floor at the end instead of Lee. Just no way.I don't know what McHale and Money are going to do now that Martin is stuck on the team for the rest of the year, but it seems clear to me that, unless Martin figures out how to get his scoring back up where it used to be, and do that EARLY in games, he will be pulled probably for most of the second halves of the games from here on out, so Lee can finish.

    Sorry this was so long, but I had been wanting to break this down in detail ever since I saw it, because there was a lot there to see at the end of this game.
     
    9 people like this.
  2. redracer1

    redracer1 Member

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    Wow I could have never imagine someone to break down that epic game's last 2mins comeback in such details. Props to you man! Although it's already like a novel but nice read btw.
     
  3. Fawkward

    Fawkward Member

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    I didn't read it, but I appreciate it. Best Rockets game since the playoffs in 09.
     
  4. ThatBoyNick

    ThatBoyNick Member

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    Nice job, i can feel the love you have for the rockets.
     
  5. HollaIFyaHEMI

    HollaIFyaHEMI Contributing Member

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    I made it all the way thru. Good Breakdown...thanks.
     
  6. RocketsMAN!

    RocketsMAN! Member

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    Read it, I lost where we were down 4, then only down 2. But gret breakdown.
     
  7. tehG l i d e

    tehG l i d e Member

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    Just saw the video again. On the possession where Dragic poked it out leading to the Lee 3, he got picked hard by Perkins but still chased after Westbrook full speed like it didn't happen. I don't want to hate on Lowry but I think he would've instantly had his hands up, staring at the ref for a second, slowing him down.
     
  8. jopatmc

    jopatmc Contributing Member

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    I thought the Durant drive where he fell on his noggin was an offensive foul. Patterson appeared to be set outside the circle. But can you imagine the refs calling that? LOL
     
  9. blink

    blink Contributing Member

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    Tmac only needed 33 seconds
     
  10. chenjy9

    chenjy9 Numbers Don't Lie
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    In other news, T-Mac still has yet to win a playoffs series regardless of which team he plays for and may soon whine himself out of Atlanta as well.
     
  11. VBG

    VBG Member

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    Fantastic post. I'm surprised you didn't point out that the Durant fumble was a clear double dribble as well.

    Dragic also used to play better when playing the Lakers and Vujacic pissed him off. He definitely feeds off of emotion.

    Westbrook is a 10/10 in terms of talent IMO
     
  12. gah

    gah Member

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    This, and it was the second time it happened on the night. I hate the queer way the ref called it (it seemed like out of a Charlie Chaplin movie) ; I hate the way the OKC color commentator talked out of his nostrils and said something like "the ref just gave a hard stare at McHale and said you better get your boy Patterson out of there."

    I hope it was a lesson for Durant, he can't be that reckless in traffic or else something worse is more likely to happen.
     
  13. CDrex

    CDrex Contributing Member

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    Very nice to read! I actually didn't realize all that Westbrook-Dragic subtext was happening. I knew on some level that Dragic was playing Westbrook hard, but it was still a little out of nowhere for me when Russ snapped. This explains the road to get there.
     
  14. RedNation

    RedNation Contributing Member

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    Long post is Long! Jk. :grin:

    Thanks for posting. Was a good read
     
  15. RV6

    RV6 Contributing Member

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    Skimmed through this and what caught my eye was "lee is clutch".....it's probably the third time i've read this when talking about this game. Now, the play was clutch, but Lee hasn't been clutch, IIRC. Not too long ago he was blasted for not handling pressure well during closing moments. Of course everyone remembers the Finals layup, personally i never counted that because i thought it was a poor angle he had. He missed it worse than he probably should have, but i didnt see it as an easy layup.

    Here in Houston, i believe he's had a turnover or two and some missed freebies that stand out. Might not be enough to say he can't be clutch, but he hasn't shown he's a clutch player either.
     
  16. tehG l i d e

    tehG l i d e Member

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    he's missed some crucial free throws down the stretch. one game I remember particularly was against the Spurs when he missed both. Spurs ended up winning that game in a close one.
     
  17. Easy

    Easy Boban Only Fan
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    You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to Nero again.

    Great post!
     
  18. Easy

    Easy Boban Only Fan
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    The great defensive efforts from Parsons, Lee, and Dragic were the difference maker. Even Budinger made one defensive stop against Durant.

    Westbrook is talented alright. He just needs to lay down his hero complex, especially when he has so many talented teammates around him.
     
  19. megatruong

    megatruong Member

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    Didn't see you mention it but on Lee's layup to make the score 101-103, if you look under the basket, Patterson does some nice boxing out to clear the lane for Lee.
     
  20. SuperMarioBro

    SuperMarioBro Member

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    I read the last little bit -- you forgot to mention the part where Durant clearly double-dribbled and got away with it. I love Durant, but that was some BS right there. Nearly made the shot, too, which would have been an atrocious turn of events after that blatant no-call.
     

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