This is why Troy Daniels was on the floor.
The rookie played in just five games for the Rockets and spent most of the season at their D-League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. But what he can do is shoot. He hit 48 percent from three in his limited chances for the Rockets this season. The Rockets needed shooting to space the floor, so he was out there.
With :24 seconds left and the game tied, the play was designed to get James Harden a shot but Nicolas Batum was dogged and fought over the top of Dwight Howard’s screen multiple times. Harden started to drive but the ball was tipped away and became loose, landing with Jeremy Lin who drove and drew a crowd so he kicked out to the wide-open Daniels.
With that shot the Rockets went on to win 121-116. That makes the series 2-1 Portland and keeps the Rockets’ hopes alive. However, the Rockets need to win Game 4 in Portland, too, if they are serious about getting out of the first round.
With our PBT Extra videos, we are previewing the entire NBA by using bold predictions, starting in the Pacific Division (we already did the Warriors).
Some of those predictions come from fans on Twitter where I had sent out a request, including the bold prediction for the Clippers.
It could happen, they are certainly contenders. But two things need to happen.
The big one is their defense, which was middle of the pack last season, needs to move into the top 10 (and DeAndre Jordan needs to play consistently like a guy who is third in Defensive Player of the Year voting).
Second is the new and improved bench unit of Lance Stephenson, Josh Smith, and Jamal Crawford (he’s not new) need to mesh into a unit. Those are three guys who like to create for themselves and make questionable shot choices, getting them play well with others could be a bumpy road.
Stephen Curry said the defending-champion Warriors would have no problem picking up where they left off.
His swagger certainly remains intact.