Rockets suffer first loss with James Harden, Chris Paul, Clint Capela as starters
The Houston Rockets are the second-best team in the NBA right now record-wise. The starting trio of James Harden, Chris Paul, and Clint Capela have been unstoppable, that is, until Friday night when they lost to the New Orleans Pelicans, 115-113.
The Rockets have suffered their 1st loss this season when James Harden, Chris Paul, and Clint Capela are all in the starting lineup. They are 19-1 in such games pic.twitter.com/rtSsrdYGuL
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 27, 2018
While the breaking news in the game was DeMarcus Cousins’ season-ending injury, a footnote in this one is the Rockets’ seeming invincibility with all three players as starters. Houston still had a chance to win the game but squandered their opportunity in the dying seconds.
Down 113-109, Pelicans power forward Anthony Davis fouled Paul while shooting a three with 8.1 seconds remaining. The Rockets’ point guard calmly made all three free-throws, bringing them to within one, 113-112. Harden fouled Darius Miller with 4.1 seconds to play, who then made both foul shots and Houston called timeout.
Harden was then fouled in the ensuing possession before taking a 3-pointer, giving him only two free-throws rather than three. After making the first one, Harden intentionally missed the second free-throw for a chance to get an offensive putback. But Harden missed the entire rim completely resulting in a violation instead.
Harden (31.0 points per game), Paul (19.5), and Capela (14.4) are three of the Rockets’ top four scorers. Harden (9.1 assists, 1.8 steals) and Paul (8.7, 1.9) are their top assist men and steals leaders with Capela is the team’s primary rebounder (10.7) and shot-blocker (1.69).
The Rockets will get a chance to bounce back from this tough loss when they host the Phoenix Suns on Sunday afternoon. Expect Harden, Paul, and Capela to play more focused as the matchup could easily become a trap game for Houston.