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Not Just A Numbers Game

November 13, 2012 12:05 am EST

Rockets receive reminder of how greatness can ruin even the best of game plans

HOUSTON - Oh, the brutal, bitter irony of it all.

For five years, Shane Battier plied his trade in Houston, earning a well-deserved reputation for being one of the game’s headiest defenders based in large part on his by-the-numbers approach focused on forcing his man, often the opponent’s best offensive player, away from his strengths and into taking the least efficient shots in the game. The strategy was frequently as effective as it was sound, leaving many a Rockets opponent shaking his head wondering how exactly this supposedly inferior athlete could leave behind such a long trail of 8-for-24 shooting nights in his wake.

Almost two years after his departure at the 2011 trade deadline, Monday night saw Battier return to Houston for the first time as a member of the NBA champion Miami Heat. His former team looked nothing like the one he left behind of course, but current Rockets players like Chandler Parsons have picked up where Battier left off, utilizing the same sort of defensive concepts: Devour scouting reports on opponents’ tendencies; keep them out of the paint; make them shoot as many midrange and long twos as possible; contest everything; and if a transcendentally talented player – like, say, LeBron James – is willing to settle for step-back, fadeaway threes, then by all means, let him.

The Rockets did all that and more Monday night. And LeBron still found a way to burn them.

Such is the occasionally unfair nature of a game that can punish you even when making the absolute, no questions asked, perfectly rational percentage play. Throughout the vast majority of James’ scorching second half scoring spree, the Rockets forced him into taking the shots they wanted him to take: Step-backs, turnarounds, fadewaways, you name it. And time after time the league’s reigning MVP sank one ridiculous shot after another on his way to ultimately sinking the hopes of Houston’s fans who were treated to one of the most enjoyable, yet ultimately gut-wrenching experiences one can possibly have at a regular season basketball game.

Indeed, Monday’s down-to-the-wire affair featured just about everything, from the Heat appearing invincible on the way to a 22-5 opening onslaught to the Rockets roaring all the way back and opening up an eight-point lead of their own mid-way through the fourth quarter. In fact, the final frame was practically an epic poem in and of itself, with both teams taking turns drilling three-pointers and big shots from all over the floor.

Chandler Parsons was spectacular, besting his career-high in scoring (his previous high also occurred against Miami) with 25 points accumulated largely on the strength of his 5-10 shooting from beyond the arc. Omer Asik set a new career-best as well, racking up 19 points (including 11-14 from the line!) to go along with his now-standard 14 rebounds. Patrick Patterson (17 points, 9 rebounds) was terrific. Marcus Morris hit two massive fourth quarter threes that made it appear as if he’d be going home a hero. And on and on it went.

Best of all, however, were the signs that Houston’s offense is starting to establish some sort of rhythm. The Rockets pushed the pace and attacked the rim relentlessly, earning a 33-20 free throw advantage over a Miami team that knows all about the benefits of assaulting the painted area. The ball movement was perhaps better than it’s been all season, with Houston’s half-court offense routinely reversing the ball and exhibiting the patience required to open up Miami’s defense and exploit those vulnerabilities. Of course, it’s funny how much better an offense looks when those outside shots are falling. And the Rockets did that too, knocking down a season-high 12 of their 34 attempts from beyond the arc.  

What the Rockets did not do, however, was effectively execute for much of the game’s final 90 seconds. After his sublime playmaking set up back-to-back triples for Morris and Parsons late in the fourth quarter, James Harden took an ill-advised three of his own in the final minute instead of continuing to lean upon his considerable creativity. Jeremy Lin airballed a wide-open look from beyond the arc. Houston allowed Chris Bosh to corral a critical offensive rebound following a Miami missed free throw with seven seconds left. And Harden’s lack of urgency during the game’s final possession left him with no other choice but to attempt a low percentage bomb over the outstretched arm of James as the final seconds ticked away.

These are the things that are going to happen to a team that’s been together two weeks. And, yes, give the Heat some credit, too; they rose to the occasion exactly the way you’d expect the defending champions to do. Yet the Rockets did so many things right Monday night it seems somewhat wrong to spend too much time focusing on their mistakes or the fact the end result did not end up in their favor. They made big shots. They played the percentages. And as if offering a reminder of both basketball’s beauty and occasional cruelty all at once, LeBron James’ greatness trumped it all.

In the end, detailed scouting reports and statistical probability can only do so much. No one knows that better than Battier.

“I love the numbers,” he said after the game. “I love them. But there’s the game to be played and the human condition. And that’s why basketball and sports are special.”

And-1s: During the break between the first and second quarter, the Rockets showed a Shane Battier tribute video honoring the player for his time in Houston that was good enough to earn him a spot on the club’s Team of the 2000s. After the game, Battier opened up about the meaning of that moment and the city he still loves.

“That was one of the most wholly molly moments in my life. It was an amazing feeling. I didn’t cry, but I was stunned. For me that’s a lot of emotion. This was a very, very special night for me. When you’re in a place for so long, you hope you leave a positive impact and you hope people remember you fondly. Tonight was everything I hoped for, to see all the familiar faces and smiles and hugs. To see the video tribute was very special to remember for the rest of my career. That doesn’t happen every where, but I love Houston and I was glad to come back.”

QUOTES

KELVIN SAMPSON

Those guys are good. And after they got punched in the mouth last night they were going to come out and punch us in the mouth early, but we had to withstand the early onslaught but at the same time stay aggressive. Just because someone punched us in the mouth doesn’t mean we can’t punch them back.

That’s why he’s the best player in the world – he makes those shots. But we’ll bounce back. These guys are resilient.

Our defense tightened up down the stretch and they were shooting the shots we wanted them to shoot.

(On the loss) “Great game. LeBron was hitting some unbelievable shots. I give our team credit for answering and they kept answering. They have a possession where they can't get a whole lot going. Marcus or Chandler or Carlos couldn't get it going. That was a tough fight where both teams were just fighting. They got the last punch in and I'm disappointed that we lost.”

(On the young team’s energy) “On a night where they really played well too. I have to give a lot of credit to them. They played well on both ends. I called two timeouts early. They (Heat) got punched in the mouth last night so they were trying to come out and punch us in the mouth and we had to withstand the onslaught but make sure we're aggressive. But because they come out and punch us in the mouth doesn't mean we can't come out and punch them. I didn't think we were the aggressor early. When you play a team like Miami you can't be on the receiving end, you got to go hit them. Once we got our footing, we gave ourselves permission to win the game.”

PATRICK PATTERSON

(On the positive that can be taken form the game) “The only positive I think we can take from this is that we don't give up. We’re a tough team, we fight, we play hard. We may not be one of the most talented teams in the NBA with big names, but despite all that, we work extremely hard. We’re a tough team like I said, we don't give up. So the only thing I think we should take from the game is just that.”

(On how tough the lost is) “For me it's extremely tough because we should’ve won. We had an opportunity to pretty much push the lead forward. Pretty much LeBron was LeBron out there. He hit a couple of clutch threes, had some layups and some pretty nice assists and passes too. Bosh (went) for some layup (and) dunks. He just took over, we couldn't knock down shots. Most importantly we couldn't get stops on the defensive end. But all in all we felt like we should’ve won this game. We had opportunities to (win the game) but we let it slip away.”

JAMES HARDEN

(On last few minutes of game) “For the most part it was pretty good plays. Chandler hit a big shot and Jeremy had a great look. We have confidence in our guys that next time those shots are available we will hit them. Good game we kept our turnovers down tonight, we just couldn't come out with the win.”

(On the last couple of possessions) “I tried to get to the rim one time but I don’t know what happened. The other time I passed it to Chandler and that’s when Jeremy got the open look. So I thought we made some good plays toward the end of the game but some of he shots didn't fall. But like I said we played hard tonight.”

CHANDLER PARSONS

(On the loss) “It’s tough. That’s the best team in the NBA and we were right there. Obviously we feel like we should’ve won that game. It’s tough to swallow right now. It’s very tough but we competed for 48 minutes tonight and we really put ourselves in a position to win the game”

(On The Rockets effort) “Obviously it always hurts to lose. But I think that overall we played well. We competed. We moved the ball, we got good looks, we ran our offense and I thought we put ourselves in position to win. I thought our effort was great.”

JEREMY LIN

(On his last missed shot) “It didn't come off right. It didn't feel good. Obviously it’s my responsibility to hit that shot. It was a good shot for me, a quality shot and it didn't go in for me today unfortunately in a crucial play of the game.”

(On the play of LeBron James) “When you play against a guy like him, you just try to take away what he's best at. In the first half, I spent a lot of time on him trying to contest long shots and trying not to let him get to the basket. Make him take those long fade aways. I think that in the second half, he got a little bit more comfortable and he started to hit some ridiculous threes. Marcus (Morris) played great D on him in the second half. He was just hitting tough, tough shots.”

OMER ASIK

(On the loss) “We started the game really bad and then we came back. We made some mistakes but we played much better defensively and offensively. We played well together as a team.”

(On whether or not the team can learn from this loss) “This is a good game to tell us what we need to do more of. It tells us what we need to improve upon. These types of games helps us get better.”

MIAMI HEAT COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA

(On the game) “That’s a game that went a lot of different ways. We jumped off to a great start with energy from all five guys and then relaxed for a second. They played well and moved our defense around. They played a heck of a second half, but we were a little mentally tougher this time around and were able to stick in there even through some of the tough threes they made. We executed down the stretch and LeBron was obviously very, very good going down the stretch. He bailed us out on several possessions where he was essentially the offense and kept us there within striking distance.”

(On Miami’s early season play) “Our experience is instrumental and important to us as a team, to have that mentality where it’s not panic. Our guys feel comfortable and confident in those situations. Our guys thrive in those situations, but we don’t want to use that as a bail out. We don’t want to have to make big plays to win games at the end. You have to give them credit; they played a good basketball game”

LeBRON JAMES

(On what he did at halftime) “Nothing, I just got prepared because I knew it was going to be a tough second half. I was just happy and glad I was able to make a few plays and help our team win. I came out more aggressive in the second half and coach ran a play for me right at the start and I was able to get it going a little bit. My team needed me to score a little more tonight and I just tried to take control of the offense.”

(On the Rockets) “They are a young very talented team and they move the ball extremely well. They shoot the ball very well from the outside. They are a young team, but they play well together and they should get even better.”

DWYANE WADE

(On Harden coming to Houston) “He is in the same position I was a few years back, so I know how it feels. They need to continue to add personnel around him to help build the team. I think that he’ll be a great addition to the Rocket team.”

(On Bosh’s play) “He’s Mr. consistent. He is a guy who does what he has to do and obviously on the offensive end he is multi-talented. He is a big player that can go inside and outside. It’s a luxury having a guy like that. He understands how much he means to this team.”

 SHANE BATTIER

(On the tribute) “That was one of my wholly molly moments in my life. It was an amazing feeling. I didn’t cry, but I was stunned. For me that’s a lot of emotion. This was a very, very special night for me. When you’re in a place for so long, you hope you leave a positive impact and you hope people remember you fondly. Tonight was everything I hoped for, to see all the familiar faces and smiles and hugs. To see the video tribute was very special to remember for the rest of my career. That doesn’t happen every where, but I love Houston and I was glad to come back.”

(On the win) This is the one win I told the guys that I really wanted to win. I really, really wanted this one and I was glad we were able to pull it out. This one was especially special.”

NOTES

Houston registered another sellout crowd of 18,041 for tonight’s game.

The Rockets dropped a hard-fought 113-110 decision to the Heat tonight. Houston has now lost six in a row to Miami (1/15/10-11/12/12).

Houston set season highs of 33 second-quarter points and 33 third-quarter points, helping to erase a 17-point, first-half deficit.

The Rockets made a season-high 12 shots from beyond the arc tonight (12-34 3FG), while the Heat tied the opponent season best of 10 treys (10-21 3FG).

Miami also set Houston’s opponent season high for field goal percentage by hitting 45-of-89 (.506) shots from the field.

Chandler Parsons netted a career-high 25 points (8-17 FG, 4-4 FT) tonight behind a career-best five 3-point field goals (5-10 3FG). Parsons topped Houston with his previous career high of 23 points (10-13 FG, 3-5 3FG) and a career-best four steals in last season’s outing at Miami (4/22/12).

James Harden finished with 22 points (6-17 FG, 9-11 FT) tonight, which stands as his fifth 20-point outing of the season.

Omer Asik posted a career-best 19 points (4-8 FG) off a career-high 11-of-14 night from the free throw line, adding 14 rebounds and a career-high-tying three assists. Asik also extended his career-best streak of double-digit scoring games to four in a row. His career best in assists for a regular season outing is three, done twice before (last on 3/26/12 vs. Denver).

Patrick Patterson, who had 14 points (7-11 FG) and seven boards off the bench in last season’s meeting at Miami (4/22/12), recorded 17 points (8-14 FG) and nine rebounds tonight.

Jeremy Lin tied his career best in blocked shots with a team-high three tonight. He originally set his career high with three at Chicago (3/12/12).

LeBron James racked up a game-high 38 points (14-26 FG, 5-8 3FG), 10 rebounds and six assists tonight. James has now scored in double figures in 427 consecutive games, and in 149 (Oct. 26, 2010-Nov. 12, 2012) straight games for the Heat, which surpasses Dwyane Wade’s 148 in a row (Feb. 1, 2008-Feb. 16, 2010) for the new franchise record.

Chris Bosh recorded 24 points (8-12 FG) and 10 rebounds tonight, marking his third double-double of the season. Bosh and Wade both sat out last season’s meeting at Miami (4/22/12). The last time Bosh faced the Rockets, he notched 31 points (11-21 FG, 9-10 FT) and 12 boards at Miami (3/27/11).

Dwyane Wade had 19 points (8-18 FG, 3-7 FT) and seven assists tonight. It was just the third time in his career to score less than 20 points in a game against Houston. Wade had posted 20 or more points in 13 of his previous 15 career game against the Rockets.

Shane Battier made his return to Houston with a team-high three blocked shots. 

 

For five years, Shane Battier plied his trade in Houston, earning a well-deserved reputation for being one of the game’s headiest defenders based in large part on his by-the-numbers approach focused on forcing his man, often the opponent’s best offensive player, away from his strengths and into taking the least efficient shots in the game. The strategy was frequently as effective as it was sound, leaving many a Rockets opponent shaking his head wondering how exactly this supposedly inferior athlete could leave behind such a long trail of 8-for-24 shooting nights in his wake.

Almost two years after his departure at the 2011 trade deadline, Monday night saw Battier return to Houston for the first time as a member of the NBA champion Miami Heat. His former team looked nothing like the one he left behind of course, but current Rockets players like Chandler Parsons have picked up where Battier left off, utilizing the same sort of defensive concepts: Keep opponents out of the paint; make them shoot as many midrange and long twos as possible; contest everything; and if a transcendentally talented player – like, say, LeBron James – is willing to settle for step-back, fadeaway threes, then by all means, let him.

The Rockets did all that and more Monday night. And LeBron still burned them.

Such is the occasionally unfair nature of a game that can punish you even when making the absolute, no questions asked, perfectly rational percentage play. Throughout the vast majority of James’ scorching second half scoring spree, the Rockets forced him into taking the shots they wanted him to take: Step-backs, turnarounds, fadewaways, you name it. And time after time the league’s reigning MVP sank one ridiculous shot after another on his way to ultimately sinking the hopes of Houston’s fans who were treated to one of the most enjoyable, yet ultimately gut-wrenching experiences one can possibly have at a regular season basketball game.

Indeed, Monday’s down-to-the-wire affair featured just about everything, from the Heat appearing invincible on the way to a 22-5 opening onslaught to the Rockets roaring all the way back and opening up an eight-point lead of their own mid-way through the fourth quarter. In fact, the final frame was practically an epic poem in and of itself, with both teams taking turns drilling three-pointers and big shots from all over the floor.

Chandler Parsons was spectacular, besting his career-high in scoring (his previous high also occurred against Miami) with 25 points accumulated largely on the strength of 5-10 shooting from beyond the arc. Omer Asik set a new career-best as well, racking up 19 points (including 11-14 from the line!) to go along with his now-standard 14 rebounds. Patrick Patterson (17 points, 9 rebounds) was terrific. Marcus Morris hit two massive fourth quarter threes that made it appear as if he’d be going home a hero. And on and on it went.

Best of all, however, were the signs that Houston’s offense is starting to establish some sort of rhythm. The Rockets pushed the pace and attacked the rim relentlessly, earning a 33-20 free throw advantage over a Miami team that knows all about the benefits of assaulting the painted area. The ball movement was perhaps better than it’s been all season, with Houston’s half-court offense routinely reversing the ball and exhibiting the patience required to open up Miami’s defense and exploit those vulnerabilities. Of course, it’s funny how much better an offense looks when those outside shots are falling. And the Rockets did that too, knocking down a season-high 12 of their 34 attempts from beyond the arc.  

What the Rockets did not do, however, was effectively execute for much of the game’s final 90 seconds. After his sublime playmaking set up back-to-back triples for Morris and Parsons late in the fourth quarter, James Harden took an ill-advised three of his own in the final minute instead of continuing to lean upon his considerable creativity. Jeremy Lin airballed a wide-open look from beyond the arc. Houston allowed Chris Bosh to corral a critical offensive rebound following a Miami missed free throw. And Harden’s lack of urgency during the game’s final possession left him with no other choice but to attempt a low percentage bomb over the outstretched arm of James as the final seconds ticked away.

These are the things that are going to happen to a team that’s been together two weeks. And, yes, give the Heat some credit, too; they rose to the occasion exactly the way you’d expect the defending champions to do. The Rockets did so many things right Monday night it seems somewhat wrong to focus on the fact the end result did not end up in their favor. They made big shots. They played the percentages. And as if offering a reminder of both basketball’s beauty and occasional cruelty all at once, LeBron James’ greatness trumped it all.

Detailed scouting reports and statistics can only do so much. No one knows that better than Battier.

“I love the numbers,” he said after the game. “I love them. But there’s the game to be played and the human condition. And that’s why basketball and sports are special.”

And-1s: During the break between the first and second quarter, the Rockets showed a Shane Battier tribute video honoring the player for his time in Houston that was good enough to earn him a spot on the club’s Team of the 2000s. After the game, Battier opened up about the meaning of that moment and the city he still loves.

“That was one of the most wholly molly moments in my life. It was an amazing feeling. I didn’t cry, but I was stunned. For me that’s a lot of emotion. This was a very, very special night for me. When you’re in a place for so long, you hope you leave a positive impact and you hope people remember you fondly. Tonight was everything I hoped for, to see all the familiar faces and smiles and hugs. To see the video tribute was very special to remember for the rest of my career. That doesn’t happen every where, but I love Houston and I was glad to come back.”

QUOTES

KELVIN SAMPSON

Those guys are good. And after they got punched in the mouth last night they were going to come out and punch us in the mouth early, but we had to withstand the early onslaught but at the same time stay aggressive. Just because someone punched us in the mouth doesn’t mean we can’t punch them back.

That’s why he’s the best player in the world – he makes those shots. But we’ll bounce back. These guys are resilient.

Our defense tightened up down the stretch and they were shooting the shots we wanted them to shoot.

(On the loss) “Great game. LeBron was hitting some unbelievable shots. I give our team credit for answering and they kept answering. They have a possession where they can't get a whole lot going. Marcus or Chandler or Carlos couldn't get it going. That was a tough fight where both teams were just fighting. They got the last punch in and I'm disappointed that we lost.”

(On the young team’s energy) “On a night where they really played well too. I have to give a lot of credit to them. They played well on both ends. I called two timeouts early. They (Heat) got punched in the mouth last night so they were trying to come out and punch us in the mouth and we had to withstand the onslaught but make sure we're aggressive. But because they come out and punch us in the mouth doesn't mean we can't come out and punch them. I didn't think we were the aggressor early. When you play a team like Miami you can't be on the receiving end, you got to go hit them. Once we got our footing, we gave ourselves permission to win the game.”

PATRICK PATTERSON

(On the positive that can be taken form the game) “The only positive I think we can take from this is that we don't give up. We’re a tough team, we fight, we play hard. We may not be one of the most talented teams in the NBA with big names, but despite all that, we work extremely hard. We’re a tough team like I said, we don't give up. So the only thing I think we should take from the game is just that.”

(On how tough the lost is) “For me it's extremely tough because we should’ve won. We had an opportunity to pretty much push the lead forward. Pretty much LeBron was LeBron out there. He hit a couple of clutch threes, had some layups and some pretty nice assists and passes too. Bosh (went) for some layup (and) dunks. He just took over, we couldn't knock down shots. Most importantly we couldn't get stops on the defensive end. But all in all we felt like we should’ve won this game. We had opportunities to (win the game) but we let it slip away.”

JAMES HARDEN

(On last few minutes of game) “For the most part it was pretty good plays. Chandler hit a big shot and Jeremy had a great look. We have confidence in our guys that next time those shots are available we will hit them. Good game we kept our turnovers down tonight, we just couldn't come out with the win.”

(On the last couple of possessions) “I tried to get to the rim one time but I don’t know what happened. The other time I passed it to Chandler and that’s when Jeremy got the open look. So I thought we made some good plays toward the end of the game but some of he shots didn't fall. But like I said we played hard tonight.”

CHANDLER PARSONS

(On the loss) “It’s tough. That’s the best team in the NBA and we were right there. Obviously we feel like we should’ve won that game. It’s tough to swallow right now. It’s very tough but we competed for 48 minutes tonight and we really put ourselves in a position to win the game”

(On The Rockets effort) “Obviously it always hurts to lose. But I think that overall we played well. We competed. We moved the ball, we got good looks, we ran our offense and I thought we put ourselves in position to win. I thought our effort was great.”

JEREMY LIN

(On his last missed shot) “It didn't come off right. It didn't feel good. Obviously it’s my responsibility to hit that shot. It was a good shot for me, a quality shot and it didn't go in for me today unfortunately in a crucial play of the game.”

(On the play of LeBron James) “When you play against a guy like him, you just try to take away what he's best at. In the first half, I spent a lot of time on him trying to contest long shots and trying not to let him get to the basket. Make him take those long fade aways. I think that in the second half, he got a little bit more comfortable and he started to hit some ridiculous threes. Marcus (Morris) played great D on him in the second half. He was just hitting tough, tough shots.”

OMER ASIK

(On the loss) “We started the game really bad and then we came back. We made some mistakes but we played much better defensively and offensively. We played well together as a team.”

(On whether or not the team can learn from this loss) “This is a good game to tell us what we need to do more of. It tells us what we need to improve upon. These types of games helps us get better.”

MIAMI HEAT COACH ERIK SPOELSTRA

(On the game) “That’s a game that went a lot of different ways. We jumped off to a great start with energy from all five guys and then relaxed for a second. They played well and moved our defense around. They played a heck of a second half, but we were a little mentally tougher this time around and were able to stick in there even through some of the tough threes they made. We executed down the stretch and LeBron was obviously very, very good going down the stretch. He bailed us out on several possessions where he was essentially the offense and kept us there within striking distance.”

(On Miami’s early season play) “Our experience is instrumental and important to us as a team, to have that mentality where it’s not panic. Our guys feel comfortable and confident in those situations. Our guys thrive in those situations, but we don’t want to use that as a bail out. We don’t want to have to make big plays to win games at the end. You have to give them credit; they played a good basketball game”

LeBRON JAMES

(On what he did at halftime) “Nothing, I just got prepared because I knew it was going to be a tough second half. I was just happy and glad I was able to make a few plays and help our team win. I came out more aggressive in the second half and coach ran a play for me right at the start and I was able to get it going a little bit. My team needed me to score a little more tonight and I just tried to take control of the offense.”

(On the Rockets) “They are a young very talented team and they move the ball extremely well. They shoot the ball very well from the outside. They are a young team, but they play well together and they should get even better.”

DWYANE WADE

(On Harden coming to Houston) “He is in the same position I was a few years back, so I know how it feels. They need to continue to add personnel around him to help build the team. I think that he’ll be a great addition to the Rocket team.”

(On Bosh’s play) “He’s Mr. consistent. He is a guy who does what he has to do and obviously on the offensive end he is multi-talented. He is a big player that can go inside and outside. It’s a luxury having a guy like that. He understands how much he means to this team.”

 SHANE BATTIER

(On the tribute) “That was one of my wholly molly moments in my life. It was an amazing feeling. I didn’t cry, but I was stunned. For me that’s a lot of emotion. This was a very, very special night for me. When you’re in a place for so long, you hope you leave a positive impact and you hope people remember you fondly. Tonight was everything I hoped for, to see all the familiar faces and smiles and hugs. To see the video tribute was very special to remember for the rest of my career. That doesn’t happen every where, but I love Houston and I was glad to come back.”

(On the win) This is the one win I told the guys that I really wanted to win. I really, really wanted this one and I was glad we were able to pull it out. This one was especially special.”

NOTES

Houston registered another sellout crowd of 18,041 for tonight’s game.

The Rockets dropped a hard-fought 113-110 decision to the Heat tonight. Houston has now lost six in a row to Miami (1/15/10-11/12/12).

Houston set season highs of 33 second-quarter points and 33 third-quarter points, helping to erase a 17-point, first-half deficit.

The Rockets made a season-high 12 shots from beyond the arc tonight (12-34 3FG), while the Heat tied the opponent season best of 10 treys (10-21 3FG).

Miami also set Houston’s opponent season high for field goal percentage by hitting 45-of-89 (.506) shots from the field.

Chandler Parsons netted a career-high 25 points (8-17 FG, 4-4 FT) tonight behind a career-best five 3-point field goals (5-10 3FG). Parsons topped Houston with his previous career high of 23 points (10-13 FG, 3-5 3FG) and a career-best four steals in last season’s outing at Miami (4/22/12).

James Harden finished with 22 points (6-17 FG, 9-11 FT) tonight, which stands as his fifth 20-point outing of the season.

Omer Asik posted a career-best 19 points (4-8 FG) off a career-high 11-of-14 night from the free throw line, adding 14 rebounds and a career-high-tying three assists. Asik also extended his career-best streak of double-digit scoring games to four in a row. His career best in assists for a regular season outing is three, done twice before (last on 3/26/12 vs. Denver).

Patrick Patterson, who had 14 points (7-11 FG) and seven boards off the bench in last season’s meeting at Miami (4/22/12), recorded 17 points (8-14 FG) and nine rebounds tonight.

Jeremy Lin tied his career best in blocked shots with a team-high three tonight. He originally set his career high with three at Chicago (3/12/12).

LeBron James racked up a game-high 38 points (14-26 FG, 5-8 3FG), 10 rebounds and six assists tonight. James has now scored in double figures in 427 consecutive games, and in 149 (Oct. 26, 2010-Nov. 12, 2012) straight games for the Heat, which surpasses Dwyane Wade’s 148 in a row (Feb. 1, 2008-Feb. 16, 2010) for the new franchise record.

Chris Bosh recorded 24 points (8-12 FG) and 10 rebounds tonight, marking his third double-double of the season. Bosh and Wade both sat out last season’s meeting at Miami (4/22/12). The last time Bosh faced the Rockets, he notched 31 points (11-21 FG, 9-10 FT) and 12 boards at Miami (3/27/11).

Dwyane Wade had 19 points (8-18 FG, 3-7 FT) and seven assists tonight. It was just the third time in his career to score less than 20 points in a game against Houston. Wade had posted 20 or more points in 13 of his previous 15 career game against the Rockets.

Shane Battier made his return to Houston with a team-high three blocked shots.