NEWARK, N.J. -- Although the Houston Rockets had six players score in double figures, it was a basket tipped in by an opposing player that helped them snap a five-game losing streak.
"It was kind of like a good old-fashioned shootout," Rockets coach Kevin McHale said. "Everyone was making shots. We had a bad taste in our mouth coming into this game and we found a way to win."
Both teams were without their starting point guard, as the Nets' Deron Williams missed his second game of the season while nursing a strain of his right calf and the Rockets' Kyle Lowry was recovering from a high fever. Williams was listed as day to day, while Lowry's status was unclear as he was monitored at a New York hospital.
With Goran Dragic making just his third start of the season in place of Lowry, the Rockets didn't miss a beat. The third-year pro from Slovenia had 23 points and eight assists, Courtney Lee scored 17 points and Chandler Parsons had 16 points and six assists to help Houston beat New Jersey for the 11th straight time since the 2005-06 season.
"It was a tough game for us," Dragic said. "We knew we had lost five games in a row, so this game was especially important for us. We made a run with 10 points beginning in the (second) half, but they came back really strong."
Green had a career-high 26 points, including a spectacular windmill dunk off an ally-oop pass, in just his seventh game for the Nets since being signed from the NBA D-League, and MarShon Brooks added 23 points.
"I caught it and I was thinking that I was high enough to windmill it," said Green, who after winning the 2007 NBA Slam Dunk Contest has bounced around the league with four teams before re-discovering his game in the D-League this winter. "I usually do that pre-warmup or practice. Teammates tell me, 'Next time you dunk, try to do something nasty.' I'm just glad it went in."
Trailing by 13 points 4 minutes into the third quarter, the Nets used a 23-11 run to get back into it heading into the fourth. New Jersey led 106-105 following Shelden Williams' layup with 2:07 remaining, but Scola was credited with what proved to be the decisive basket a minute later.
"We actually tipped the ball in, which was a tough break for us," Nets coach Avery Johnson said. "Our guys really played hard. To get six guys in double figures and shoot 53 percent from the field, that's good. It's just that our defense wasn't very good."
Down 108-106, the Nets had three chances to tie or take the lead but Green missed an off-balance jumper, Kris Humphries missed a putback and Morrow missed a wide-open 3-pointer with 30 seconds to play.
"On the last couple of possessions we didn't execute well," Brooks said. "Obviously we didn't get the shots well. We just didn't execute."
Dragic sealed the victory with two free throws with 17.6 seconds remaining as Houston closed on a 7-0 run to remain in eighth place in the Western Conference.
"We fought until the end, our defense was solid and our offense was much better," Dragic said. "So, in the end, we won the game."
- David Guthrie
- Michael Smith
- Marat Kogut