Houston had one long stretch of the game Tuesday night in Miami where their offense betrayed them. They went without a field from 2:15 of the first quarter until 6:42 of the second quarter, a span of 7:33. They were outscored 17-7 during that span and had their three point lead, turned into a seven point deficit. That marked the Heat’s largest lead of the game. Houston was still trailing by seven, 47-40 with four minutes remaining in the first half, but went on a 17-8 run to close the half to take a two point lead and never trailed again.
The bottom line was Houston had an answer for the Heat all game long. They went to Dwight early and he gave the team 12 of his game-high 26 points in the first quarter. Houston took advantage of their 3-point shooting down the stretch.
Trevor Ariza made just one 3-pointer in the first half, he took just two shots. Howard and James Harden paced the team with 18 points apiece in the first half. In the second half, Howard and Harden combined for just 15 points, while Ariza came alive and scored 16 points on 4-of-6 3-pointers and a perfect 4-of-4 at the free throw line.
Also, after allowing the Heat to shoot 49 percent overall (20-41) in the first half and 50 percent on 3-pointers (7-14), Houston shut down the Heat in the second half, giving up just 36 points and holding Miami to 33 percent shooting overall (11-33) and 36 percent on 3-pointers (5-14).
Houston played without Terrence Jones and Tarik Black, both out with leg injuries. Joey Dorsey got his most extended playing time of the season and made his only field goal attempt. It was his first NBA basket since April 13, 2011 when he was with Toronto. It was Dorsey’s first basket with the Rockets since Feb. 6, 2010.
Three undefeated teams left in the NBA, Houston (5-0), Memphis (4-0) and Golden State (3-0) and Memphis. Memphis is 1st (85), Golden State (90.3) and Houston is 3rd (91.4) in points allowed per game in the league.
Both Isaiah Canaan and Jason Terry are 9-of-19 on 3-pointers (47.4%) through five games, primarily in reserve roles.
James Harden made all 10 of his free throws against the Heat. Already the 2nd time this season he’s shot at least 10 free throws in a game and made them all. Five other players have done it once.
Harden has made 61-of-64 free throws (95.3 percent) through five games. Harden’s 95.3 percent is the highest percentage of the 48 times a player has made at least 47 free throws in the first five games of the season since 1963-64.
Since 1963-64, Harden is one of five players to make 60 or more free throws in the first five games of a season. He’s the only one whose team won all five games.
Harden is one of three players in the NBA averaging at least 20 points, six rebounds and six assists per game.
James Harden – 27.2ppg, 6.8 rpg, 7.4 apg
Steph Curry – 25.3ppg, 6.7 rpg, 7.0 apg
Brandon Knight – 20.5 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 7.3 apg
In Trevor Ariza’s 5 seasons since leaving Houston following the 2009-10 season, here are his 3-point shooting percentages:
Houston’s 71 3-pointers made in the season’s first five games sets a new NBA record, breaking the record of 61 set by Golden State (2013-14) and Orlando (2009-10). Probably not a coincidence that Dwight Howard was also a member of that Orlando team. Orlando finished 4th in the NBA in 3-point shooting percentage that season at 37.5 percent. Houston currently ranks second at 44.1 percent.