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Tuesday March 27, 2012 0:21 AM

Rockets Rally Past Kings

Houston comes back from double-digit deficit, knocks off Sacramento 113-106 in OT

Jason Friedman
Rockets.com




HOUSTON - Sometimes success in the NBA is simply about survival: surviving when you’re not at your best; surviving when the injuries mount; surviving when the breaks just aren’t going your way and the odds seem hopelessly stacked against you.

From the outset Monday night against Sacramento, the Rockets looked out of sync, a step slow and decidedly out of sorts. They fell behind by 16 points in the first quarter and even as they climbed their way back into the contest later on, their struggle and strain to do so made one wonder if all that effort would simply be in vain. When the injuries began to pile up – first Marcus Camby’s wrist, followed by Goran Dragic’s ankle – an already grim outlook turned bleaker still.

Yet survive they did – thanks to another total team effort, a career night courtesy of Patrick Patterson and a huge boost from the smallest and most unlikely of sources: newly-signed Earl Boykins. The convergence of those forces allowed the Rockets to rally all the way back for a 113-106 overtime victory over the Kings – a veritable must-win for Houston’s playoff push.

“It feels good,” said Patterson, who shook off a rough game against Dallas Saturday night by bouncing back with a career-high 24 points against Sacramento. “It's just being in another situation where we were down early in the game and being able to fight our way back throughout the course of the game and get the win.”

Patterson’s big night couldn’t have come at a better time for Houston given the fact the Kings had a former Kentucky Wildcat of their own who spent the evening wreaking havoc against the Rockets. Patterson’s former Big Blue teammate DeMarcus Cousins exploded for a career-high 38 points Monday night, repeatedly torching Houston down low, from the perimeter and especially on the offensive glass.

But Patterson had plenty of significant moments of his own, not the least of which was a game-tying 22-footer that came with eight seconds left in regulation, allowing the Rockets to force the extra frame. Once there, Patterson’s play at the other end of the floor proved pivotal as well, as his fronting defense against Cousins frequently forced the Kings to look elsewhere for offense – an endeavor that produced few results, enabling Houston to steal a game it absolutely couldn’t afford to lose.

“He was phenomenal,” raved Rockets Head Coach Kevin McHale after the game. “Patrick played great. That’s the Patrick that we need to see all the time. He was just fantastic. He was great defensively, knocking down shots, getting hands on balls. He fronted Cousins real well.”

As good as Patterson was, however, Earl Boykins’ heroics nearly stole the show. Fresh off a 10-day contract so new the diminutive point guard barely had time to introduce himself to teammates before tip-off, Boykins came off the bench to play 22 minutes while contributing 10 points, 5 assists and a handful of clutch free throws down the stretch – quite the accomplishment for someone who had not played a single minute of NBA basketball this season.

“I showed him about four or five plays and said here are a couple of our defensive coverages; go out there and try to have some fun,” said McHale, when asked to describe what he was able to impart to Boykins before the game began.

“That’s the value of having guys like Marcus Camby and Earl Boykins. They’ve played in a ton of games. Is it different? Yeah. Is it a new team? Yeah. But it’s basketball and they’ve been doing it their whole lives so there’s just a calmness about them and an assurance … They’ve seen so much which is great because we need that.”

And 1s: The Rockets didn't just survive Monday's game; they also seemed to have dodged a pair of bullets on the injury front as well. Marcus Camby left the game in the fourth quarter after bracing his fall with his left hand following a blocked shot. After the game, Camby said he he does not expect to miss any time with the injury.

"I tore some ligaments in my wrist. I’m alright though," he explained. "I’ll be out there tomorrow. When I looked down and I saw instant swelling I knew something was going on. (Rockets Head Athletic Trainer) Keith (Jones) wanted to get film right away so I came back here, got some X-rays and we’ll treat it day to day. It’s my left hand so I’m fine.

Meanwhile, Goran Dragic also said he expects to be in action for Tuesday's game against Dallas, despite being forced from the game during overtime after suffering an ankle injury. "I’m fine," he said afterward. "I’ve twisted four times this ankle. It just hurts when you twist it then it’s ok. It’s still going to be a little bit sore tomorrow but it’s just a minor sprain. We take an X-ray and everything’s fine.

"Tomorrow is going to be a huge game. It’s going to be pay day. We have to win that especially after what they did two days ago when we lost that game – it was really tough for us. I’m going to be ready for sure."

QUOTES

KEVIN MCHALE

(on Early Boykins): That’s the value of having guys like Marcus Camby and Earl Boykins. They’ve played in a ton of games. Is it different? Yeah. Is it a new team? Yeah. But it’s basketball and they’ve been doing it their whole lives so there’s just a calmness about them and an assurance … They’ve seen so much which is great because we need that.

(on Patrick Patterson): He was phenomenal. Patrick played great. That’s the Patrick that we need to see all the time. He was just fantastic. He was great defensively, knocking down shots, getting hands on balls. He fronted Cousins real well.

(On getting Earl Boykins ready to play) “I showed him about four or five plays and said here is a couple of our defensive coverages and go out there and try to have some fun.”

EARL BOYKINS

They just told me to be prepared. Be prepared to play tonight and before the game that’s what I did. I was prepared mentally and I’m just glad that we were able to get a win – that was the big thing.

(one of the strangest turn of events in your career?): Yes, this is very unique. It’s definitely a unique situation but it helps when you’ve been around as long as I have. You know how to prepare to play in the NBA even if you’re not in the NBA, you know what it takes to keep your body in shape and tonight the guys had confidence in me. It takes a great deal of confidence to give someone the ball who you haven’t seen all year and give them the ball and have the confidence that they can make free throws. It’s a lot easier to play when your team has that kind of confidence in you.

One thing about me is I’ve always played basketball. Whether I’m in the NBA, in-season or out of season, I always play basketball. So physically I’m always in shape; the biggest thing is the timing. I think it will take a couple games for me to get my timing back but, like I said, tonight it was good to get my legs back under me a little bit and to get a win.

MARCUS CAMBY

(on his left wrist injury): I tore some ligaments in my wrist. I’m alright though. I’ll be out there tomorrow. When I looked down and I saw instant swelling I knew something was going on. Keith (Jones) wanted to get film right away so I came back here, got some X-rays and we’ll treat it day to day. It’s my left hand so I’m fine.

PATRICK PATTERSON

(On his career high in points) “It felt good to finally have my shots to be falling. For the past couple of games, the shots were pretty much not there. Tonight it felt good for them to go in and to have teammates to continue to look at me and be in the rhythm the whole game.”

(On the effect the win will have going into Dallas) “It feels good. It's just being in another situation where we were down early in the game and being able to fight our way back throughout the course of the game and pretty much get the win. With the momentum that we have right now, hopefully we'll go into Dallas and come out with a “W” because we let one get away here and hopefully we can get that one there.”

(bouncing back after the Dallas game): I just left it there. That’s what the NBA is for. You’ve got so many games, you just forget about your previous game and go out there and focus on the next one at hand.

LUIS SCOLA

(On the comeback win) “Today, we were happy to be in overtime. It was not looking good for us at all. They (Kings) were playing well. They were running up and down a lot. It was like we didn't even know what hit us in the first quarter and we let them play free and happy but then we played the right way from that point on and we had a good momentum change.”

(On the play of Patrick Patterson) “He was amazing. He was hitting every shot. He was playing hard and competing. Great game.”

GORAN DRAGIC

I’m fine. I’ve twisted four times this ankle. It just hurts when you twist it then it’s ok. It’s still going to be a little bit sore tomorrow but it’s just a minor sprain. We take an x-ray and everything’s fine.

(you expect to go tomorrow?): yeah, definitely. Tomorrow is going to be a huge game. It’s going to be pay day. We have to win that especially after what they did two days ago when we lost that game – it was really tough for us. I’m going to be ready for sure.

COURTNEY LEE

(On the importance of the win) “It was important. We needed to get this win.We are trying to continue to  be in the playoff run. We can't afford to lose two games in a row. So, we have to make sure we get the games we are supposed to win. We started off flat. They (Kings) were making a lot of shots and we stuck with it. We continued to fight and continued to compete. We chopped the lead down little by little and we were able to come back and get in the game.”

(On the game against Dallas tomorrow) “Yeah, you've got to (have a chip on their shoulder). They came in here and beat us on our home court. It's only right that we go in there and do the same.”

SACRAMENTO KINGS COACH KEITH SMART

(On his teams play) “Not happy at all. We self-destruct, we have some success as a unit and a group and we just didn’t stay with it. We got away from what we were doing we have to be able to handle adversity as a team. You have to hold your composure when teams make runs and everyone has to stay together to play together. In tough games on the road when you have a chance with a minute and 42 left in regulation and then we made to many mistakes at the wrong time.”

(Why they weren’t able to get the ball to cousins in overtime.) “They fronted him and made it difficult for him to catch the ball. They got in front of him and when things like that happen you have to be able to get the ball to him. They have to fight for position and reposition if you don’t have it. Teams are going to do that because he was having a good game and you have to fight some other way to get that basketball.”

DEMARCUS COUSINS

(On his play in the game) “Once again it was plays down the stretch; we have to continue to grow. Patrick (Patterson) got hot knocking down shots. He was knocking down big shots when he had a hand in his face. We just have to execute down the stretch. We are close to turning things around, it just seems to be one play here or there.”

(On Patterson’s play) “I’m happy for Pat (Patterson). He’s an incredible player; it’s not a surprise to me at all. He can play with the best in this league.”

CHUCK HAYES

(On returning to Houston) “It felt good, I was familiar with the court, the fans, that atmosphere, and everything. Obviously the fans are still great. The Rockets played well and I was just happy to be back.”

MARCUS THORNTON

(On the teams play) “We have to come out and play the way we did the first half and play for a full 40 minutes. These last three games, we have to find a way to close games out .we played hard, we just had costly mistakes there at the end and we just can’t have that. I can point to anything on why we are having these problems. It’s in yourself, you either want to do it or you don’t. We have to find a way, we are just so close yet so far away.”

NOTES

The Rockets took the Kings to an extra session and notched a 113-106 OT win, coming back from as much as 16 points down for the victory tonight. It marked Houston’s third double-digit comeback win of the season.

Houston also snapped a three-game losing streak in overtime games, moving to 3-4 in OT this season.

The Rockets, who took a 55-36 (+16) rebounding advantage in the last meeting vs. Sacramento (1/13/12), grabbed a 49-45 edge again tonight. Houston has now taken the battle of the boards in a season-best five straight games (3/18/12-3/26/12).

Houston had seven players reach double-digit scoring tonight. It marked the third time this season the Rockets have had seven players in double-figure point totals (2/3/12 vs. Phoenix and 2/9/12 at Phoenix).

The Rockets tied their season high of nine blocked shots tonight, as three players picked up multi-block performances.

Patrick Patterson scored a career-high 24 points (10-16 FG, 4-4 FT) tonight. Patterson’s previous best was a 20-point outing at Detroit (2/22/11).

Luis Scola posted 18 points (8-12 FG) and a season-high-tying 14 rebounds tonight. Scola, who now has nine double-doubles on the season, also totaled 18 points (6-11 FG, 6-8 FT) and a season-high 14 rebounds at Boston (3/6/12).

Courtney Lee finished with 16 points (5-13 FG, 5-5 FT) and a career-high-tying two blocked shots tonight.

Chandler Parsons also had 16 points (6-12 FG), eight rebounds, five assists and two steals tonight. Parsons entered this game off two consecutive double-doubles.

Goran Dragic picked up 14 points (6-12 FG) and 10 assists tonight, marking his sixth double-double of the season.

Signed to a 10-day contract prior to the game, Earl Boykins made his Rockets debut a memorable one by netting 10 points (6-6 FT) and dishing out five assists.

DeMarcus Cousins registered a career-high 38 points (15-26 FG, 8-12 FT) and 14 rebounds tonight. Cousins, who has now scored 20 or more points in five of the last six games, surpassed his previous best of 30 points vs. Oklahoma City (4/11/11).

Marcus Thornton netted 27 points (9-22 FG, 3-7 3FG, 6-6 FT) tonight. Thornton has now scored 20 or more points in 22 games this season.

Tyreke Evans collected 12 points (5-11 FG) and a career-high six steals tonight. His previous best was five thefts vs. Atlanta (1/4/11).

Terrence Williams made his return to Houston with 10 points (2-4 3FG), three boards and two steals tonight for the Kings.

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