The Houston Rockets were on the brink of defeat as they were trailing 3-1 in the best of seven series against the Los Angeles Clippers in the western conference playoff semi-finals. But they have clawed back in the series with back to back victories against the Clippers in their last two games to take the series to a decider.
Hence, the Rockets will have their heads up when they face Clippers at Toyota Center, Houston. If the Rockets play anywhere close to what they have been playing in their last two fixtures, Clippers might have to consider themselves unfortunate to walk through the exit door as they were close to the conference finals berth.
Game 6 between the two sides saw the Rockets edging past Clippers 119-107. James Harden and Dwight Howard once again led the team from the front with 23 and 20 points respectively.
But it was a complete team performance as well as players Josh Smith and Trevor Ariza coming to the party with 19 and 13 points respectively.
One of the key Clippers' players, Blake Griffin, felt Rockets have been playing better.
''We've had two opportunities and we haven't closed it out,'' AP quoted Blake Griffin as saying. ''You have to give them credit, they've been playing better than us the last two games and wanted it more clearly. So we've got an opportunity and we've got to take advantage.''
But Griffin's words do not mean they have not given it a good shot in their last two games, it is just that the Clippers have been outplayed. Star players such as Chris Paul and Griffin scored 31 and 28 points respectively, but their other players need to rise to the occasion else they might be knocked out of the Playoffs in game 7.
Even Coach Doc Rivers feels that his team has stopped playing and got comfortable after taking the lead.
The Rockets never gave up and showed their class in the last two games. These are what champions are made of – they fight till the last point.
''We just stopped playing, honestly,'' Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. ''The first thing is we let up, you could see it. We got the lead and kind of got comfortable and started making plays that you shouldn't make that there's no way you'd make with a one-point lead.''
The Rockets are desperate to reach the conference finals after their tremendous showing in the regular season where they finished second in the western conference. They won 56 games and lost 26.
Where to Watch Live
The NBA Playoffs semi-finals game 7 between Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers is scheduled for 3:30pm ET (1am IST, 8:30pm BST) start.
Viewers in the US can watch the game live on ABC.
Viewers in India can watch it live on Sony Six.
NBA fans can also watch the Playoffs live on NBA.com