The Houston Rockets lost a heartbreaker against the Utah Jazz in a game that came down to the wire, as Bojan Bogdanovic one-upped a would-be corner 3 game-winner from PJ Tucker with his own buzzer-beating bomb to win the game.
Tucker and James Harden defended Bogdanovic beautifully, but the sharpshooter drew nothing but nylon on a heavily contested 28-footer that grounded the Rockets:
BOJAN AT THE BUZZER 😱 pic.twitter.com/00sMajpYfa
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 10, 2020
Yet Tucker doesn’t think Houston lost that game at the buzzer:
“The last shot didn’t lose the game,” said Tucker, according to Alykhan Bijani of The Athletic. “We lost the game way earlier in the end of the third quarter, beginning of fourth — they scored way too easy. (Jordan) Clarkson got whatever he wanted, (Mike) Conley got to the rim whenever he wanted, we gave up wide open threes, I can go down the list.”
Tucker is right, but that is the vulnerability the Rockets now have with no true center to defend the rim.
Neither Russell Westbrook nor James Harden are strong enough one-on-one (or zone) defenders to contain drives, so it’s open season at the rim once guards penetrate.
However, this could have been a lesson never taught very easily. Tucker had hit the potential game-winner with 1.6 seconds left, but Bogdanovic came off a pinwheel screen to bury a improbable dagger after going 1-of-6 from the floor prior to that last-second jumper. Tucker had a sinking feeling when he saw the shot go up:
“As soon as he shot it, I knew it was good,” said Tucker, according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon.
The Rockets will have some lessons to learn after this loss, one that could be costly now that the fourth-place Jazz have the 2-1 tiebreaker in the season series, which could have some implications at the end of the season when it comes to playoff seeding.