News » Houston Rockets Getting Inside 2009-12-12

Houston Rockets Getting Inside 2009-12-12

Houston Rockets Getting Inside 2009-12-12An NBA-TV crew made its way around the Rockets' locker room and began interviews the way so many have since September.

Questions started along the lines of "Without Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming..."

With 13 wins in 22 games, including wins against the Lakers, Blazers, Cavaliers and Jazz, the Rockets remain known more for who is not playing than for who is.

Yet as strange as it might seem, with nearly $40 million worth of players sitting out, the Rockets are winning in part because of their depth. Against the 76ers, when their starters bombed early, falling behind by 17, the Rockets' bench came in and turned around the game. Carl Landry, Kyle Lowry and Chase Budinger outscored the Sixers' bench, 46-6. Landry, who is second in the NBA to Dwyane Wade in fourth-quarter scoring, is third in scoring overall among the Rockets. Lowry has been a consistent force of energy. Budinger has been a revelation of a second-round pick.

Between them, when the Rockets cite the reasons they have been among the league's surprise teams, the strength of the bench is high on the list.

"The second quarter, me, Chase, Carl and D.A. (David Andersen), that's our job, to come in and give us a lift," Lowry said. "That's what we did. We did a great job, and the starters finished the game. Our second unit is pretty good. I think it's one of the best second units in the NBA."

The 76ers likely would not argue. The difference is not always this extreme, but the 76ers were dominating until Rick Adelman brought in his second unit.

"Our bench did a great job in the second quarter," Adelman said. "Chase and Kyle and Carl just came in and turned the game around, got us back in the game."

ROCKETS 96, 76ERS 91: After consecutive seasons getting swept by the 76ers, with most of the losses among the most disheartening of the season, the Rockets got the part of the game in which the Sixers whipped them out of the way quickly. They fell behind by 17 in the first quarter, easily the largest deficit they had faced in any win this season. But they were so bad, so quickly, they gave themselves plenty of time to turn things around.

By halftime, they had the lead down to three, and two-and-a-half minutes into the second half, they had their first lead, taking it to as much as 13 points. As always against the 76ers, things were not easy. Philadelphia cut the lead to as little as three. But with the Rockets leading by three in the last minute, Aaron Brooks picked up a loose ball and hit an 18-footer at the shot clock buzzer, lifting the Rockets to a five-point lead with 8.5 seconds left. With that, the Rockets' four-game losing streak to the Sixers was over, with Philadelphia's losing streak growing to 12 games.

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Added: December 12, 2009


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