The Pelican Blog

Postgame report: From the Rockets locker room

Rockets Coach Kevin McHale
On playing down the stretch
“We got some stops. We were having a hard time stopping them and made a couple of adjustments defensively that seemed to help us a little bit. We tried to get the ball out of (Eric) Gordon’s hands. He was a handful tonight. Then we got some stops, got some rebounds, ran out, got fouled, and tried to get to the line. James (Harden) made a big shot late. Got a big stop, Chandler (Parsons) got a rebound, made the free-throw and then we just kind of worked from there.”

On James Harden and the finish
“James made a big shot, got fouled. He’s our closer so he did what closers do, he closed and we needed it. We started off lethargic. Monty (Williams) has those guys playing hard. They play hard every night. They won all the 50/50 balls. They were getting a good whistle because they were out-hustling us. We had to fight back the whole night and we, honestly, never got control of the game. In the third quarter, we got it tied and started to feel like we were going to get something. They got a three-pointer off a missed free-throw when we didn’t box out the shooter. All of the sudden they were picking up points off of our mistakes. That’s usually a bad sign. We had some interesting turnovers. Got it to a 5 point game with 2 ½, 3 minutes to go and said we just got to make plays.”

Rockets guard Jeremy Lin
On earning the win despite trailing most of the game
“We feel like we didn’t bring the energy in the beginning. We didn’t make it hard for other people, for Eric Gordon, and we had trouble scoring. We had trouble doing a lot of things. At the end, it was a great job by the coaches. We trapped pick-and-rolls for pretty much the entire second half and got them a little bit out and we were able to right back. Huge performances from James (Harden) down the stretch, and from TJ (Terrence Jones) and D-Mo (Donatas Motiejunas).”

Rockets center Dwight Howard
On earning the win despite trailing most of the game
“We came out sluggish and allowed them to get confidence. With a team like New Orleans, if you give them confidence and shots and chances at the rim, they make it a long night for you. We did that and some of their guys had big nights because of that. We can’t allow that to happen. But we stayed together and stayed composed and we got a good win.

“We can’t underestimate any team, and we also can’t make an excuse for having a last game of a road trip. We have to play the same way every night, and we didn’t bring that effort in the beginning. We picked it up late in the game, but we have to really start games better.”

Rockets center Donatas Motiejunas
On coming back for the win
“We played this game until the last second. I think that was really important that we showed what type of team we really are and that we can play like that. I think that’s a goal of the team this year: to play as a team and win the games like this. It was not easy to be down, but we managed to come back and pull this one out.”