The miracle in L.A.

LOS ANGELES -- Be honest. You thought it was over.

Really over.

The fans at Staples Center believed it was done too, and Houston Rockets guard Jason Terry could feel it as people in the crowd were yelling for the team in red to go home.

"It resonated with me," he said.

The Rockets could sense not only the entire crowd but the majority of the city was against them. That was just fine with them.

Houston produced the rally of all rallies with a dramatic 119-107 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night to tie this Western Conference series at three games apiece.

There will be a Game 7 in Houston on Sunday where in the history of Game 7s, the home team wins at least 90 percent of the time.

Houston, we have no problems.

"We just have a never-give-up attitude," Josh Smith said. "All year long we fought through a lot of adversity and it's just a testament of what we did throughout the season. God has been grateful to this team and we just feel like we're a blessed unit and we can do something special."

The Rockets trailed by 19 points in the third quarter but produced a 9-0 run to trail by 13 entering the fourth.

Kevin McHale elected to keep his star player, James Harden, on the bench not because he was under the weather but because there were others who were playing better.

Corey Brewer, Dwight Howard, Trevor Ariza, Smith and Terry closed the show for the Rockets.

It was an incredible move by the head coach, sitting Harden while three men with title rings, Ariza, Brewer and Terry, kept his team in the game.

Smith, criticized for his shooting in this series, came alive. Howard, who in the third quarter drew a technical for flinging his arm at DeAndre Jordan, became a dominating force in protecting the rim. The Rockets ended the last 14 and half minutes of the game on a 49-18 run as the Clippers chucked the game and perhaps the series away. The Clippers could hardly buy a basket, misfiring on 15 of their final 16 shots.

"All that I was worried about was our play," Ariza said. "We didn't get caught up with how the Clippers were playing. We just had to worry about ourselves."


In the midst of the run, Smith sent a bounce pass through traffic to Brewer, who scored on a two-handed dunk to tie the score at 102. After a Blake Griffin miss, Terry found Brewer for a corner 3-pointer with 3:42 left and a 105-102 lead.

This place that was going crazy in the third quarter when the Clippers were rolling to a lead that jumped to as much as 19 points, suddenly got quiet.

Jamal Crawford missed a 3 and Howard snagged a rebound leading to Smith making one of two free throws. Following a Chris Paul miss, Terry nailed a jumper to push the lead to 108-102.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers called timeout and the only noise bouncing around Staples Center was the chest bump of Harden and Terry in celebration.

When Smith blocked a Griffin shot with 2:07 left after a timeout, he let out a scream to let everybody know the comeback was complete.

The Clippers fell apart and the Rockets, once left for dead, down 3-1 in this series, won.

Yes, won.

"I'm just very proud of my guys for that amazing fourth quarter," said Harden, who made a 10-second cameo appearance in the fourth quarter with 61 seconds to play. "They did a tremendous job on both sides of the floor. Defensively, holding the Clippers to just 15 points in the fourth quarter was huge, especially since we were down 13 to start the quarter. Our guys kept battling and they did a great job."

When it was over, McHale leaned back on a chair in the visitor's coaches office, sipping on something nice as his wife sat near him smiling.

Yes, the veteran coach was gusty and smart. He gambled without Harden, knowing that if it backfired, the season was lost. But he was smart enough to know the chemistry of the men leading the comeback was bigger than anything else.

"That group that was out there in the fourth quarter just had great composure," he said. "They had a great sense about [believing] they were going to accomplish something."

The fourth-quarter totals were effective and outstanding at the same time.

Brewer scored the same amount of points the Clippers had in the fourth quarter, 15. Smith had 14 with three 3-pointers, Terry played an effective 11 minutes contributing five points, four rebounds and two assists. Ariza had five points and two rebounds.


He scored only one point. But he grabbed five rebounds and blocked one shot. Overall, Howard's 20-point and 21-rebound night was a thing of beauty.

According to Elias Sports Bureau, he became only the third man in the last 40 years to have a 20-20 night with his team facing elimination on the road.

And the Rockets as a team?

In their history -- one that dates to San Diego in 1967 and features legendary players such as Calvin Murphy, Clyde Drexler, Hakeem Olajuwon and hundreds more on their roster -- the Rockets had never won a playoff game when trailing by 10 points entering the fourth quarter (0-49).


Now they have.

"In this situation, I leaned on my faith and championship experience," Terry said. "We understood that our season could have ended tonight. All we had left was time on the clock. If there's still time on the clock, there's still time to get the job done."