Rockets end skid with victory over Bobcats
AFP January 23, 2013, 12:01 am TWN
CHARLOTTE, North Carolina -- James Harden scored 29 points on Monday to lead Houston to a 100-94 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats that ended the Rockets' NBA losing streak at seven games.
The Rockets overcame a 35-point effort from Charlotte's Kemba Walker, whose career-high scoring performance wasn't enough to prevent the Bobcats from enduring a club record 15th straight home defeat.
Harden scored 12 of his points in the fourth quarter, when Houston out-scored Charlotte by a 26-13 margin.
Houston's bench came up big, with Marcus Morris delivering 21 points and eight rebounds and fellow reserve Carlos Delfino adding 16 points.
"We needed this win," Morris said. "We've just got to keep going and keep building from there."
Up by 11 at halftime, the Bobcats shot a dismal 21.1 percent — connecting on only 4-of-19 from the floor — in the final period.
Houston's Jeremy Lin was ineffective guarding Walker and didn't play in the fourth quarter.
"When Lin backed off me I was confident and I made them," Walker said of his six three-pointers.
Rockets coach Kevin McHale changed his strategy for containing Walker in the final period.
"We tried to trap him and our guys played hard," McHale said. "Patrick Beverley did a nice job with his quickness trying to at least contain a guy like that."
In his 10 minutes of playing time in the final quarter, Walker connected on just 2-of-5 shots and had no assists.
"It's on me," Walker said. "I've got to do a better job against the trap. I've got to make better decisions. If I can't find my shot then I've got to make better plays for others."
Although Rockets players acknowledged they still have weaknesses to address, they were relieved to end the demoralizing skid.
"It's really important, man, because it was all weighing on us," Lin said. "We need to address what we need to address, but we don't have to feel like there is a big elephant in the room."
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