The battle of unbeaten teams was a good one from the start. Both teams came out with a fast pace, moving the ball and knocking down three pointers.
The Rockets went to Dwight Howard early and often in the 1st quarter. He was 5-6 with 12 points and zero fouls. Rookie Kostas Papanikolaou came in early and played well providing three points and four assists. James Harden did not force the issue as the Rockets played through Howard. He went 1-4 in the quarter but made some defensive plays in transition.
The Heat got help from everyone. Chris Bosh knocked down the first shot but Luol Deng and Shawne Williams combined for 15 points. Dwyane Wade added four points and two assists in the quarter. Justin Hamilton knocked down two three pointers at the end of the quarter to give the Heat a 31-30 lead at the end of the 1st.
Both teams were shooting lights out from three point land, the Rockets were 5-8 and the Heat were 5-6.
The start of the second quarter was sloppy for both teams. At one point the Rockets missed 7 of 9 shots and had four turnovers. Eventually James Harden got it going scoring 12 points in the quarter. He was 7-7 from the free throw line and 10-10 for the half. He went into halftime with 18 points. Dwight Howard added 18 of his own and did not pick up a foul in the entire half.
The rest of the Rockets are struggling. Ariza only took two shots as he has a hard time defending Wade. Beverley knocked two early three pointers but since then picked up a technical foul and seems frustrated.
Not to be outdone D-Wade decided to get it going for the Heat. He scored 11 points in the quarter, giving him 15 for the half. Chris Bosh has six points but has not been looking for his shot. The Rockets went into half time with a two point lead.
The Rockets were 8-17 from three and the Heat were 7-14. The Heat out rebounded the Rockets but the Rockets took 11 more free throws.
The Rockets used a 7-0 run to extend their lead in the third quarter. Harden and Howard worked the pick and roll more often and Harden was able to find open shooters. He had three assists in the quarter. Ariza and Beverley combined for 13 points.
Bosh started to get it going in the third scoring 11 points. He closed the half by missing his second free throw but grabbing the rebound and finishing with a layup. The Heat were more aggressive in the quarter getting to the free throw line 13 times. However they only hit 6 of them. They went on a 7-0 run to end the quarter and cut the Rockets lead to 83-77.
The Rockets used another 7-0 run to go up 90-80 early in the fourth. The Heat answered with two three pointers of their own cutting the lead to four.
Led by Trevor Ariza’s 9 points the Rockets went on a 13-0 to take a 14 point lead and controlled the rest of the game.
The Heat allowed 17 three pointers in their first three games. The Rockets shot 17-37 from three in the game. Chris Bosh finished with 21 and 8 rebounds. Mario Chalmers chipped in with 12 off the bench.
After taking a fall Wade stopped being aggressive and finished with 19 points.
The Rockets were led by James Harden’s near triple-double, 25 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds. Dwight had 26 points, 10 rebounds and five turnovers. Papanikolaou finished with eight points, seven rebounds and five assists.
The Rockets won 108-91 and remain undefeated.
Miami heads to Charlotte to take on the Hornets tomorrow night.
The Rockets play again on Thursday on TNT against the defending champion Spurs.