In one of the most stunning comebacks in the history of the NBA, the Houston Rockets erased a 19-point third quarter deficit to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 119-107 in the 6th game to stave off elimination yet again and tie the series 3-3. The Rockets once trailed in this series 3-1. Neither team led by more than 9 points in a close first half. After closing to a 64-62 halftime deficit, the Rockets came out in the 3rd quarter with a lackluster performance to eventually trail by as many as 19 points as the Clippers were cruising toward clinching the franchise’s first Western Conference finals berth. The Rockets were dead in the water not appearing to have any fight left in them. The teams’ frustration boiled over in the third, when Howard was called for a flagrant-1 foul after knocking Blake Griffin to the court on a drive. James Harden later got hit with a technical for shoving Griffin. But then the impossible happened.
Trailing 87-68, Houston outscored the Clippers 51-20 over the end of the third and in the fourth to shock the sellout crowd of 19,417 into near silence. Corey Brewer scored 15 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter and Houston startled Los Angeles on Thursday night to force a Game 7. “We kept saying, ‘We’re not going to quit,’” said Dwight Howard, who had 20 points and 21 rebounds. “We kept believing. We never gave up on each other.” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said, “We were trying to run the clock out and we stopped playing, we gave this one away.” Houston hit seven 3-pointers in the fourth and stymied the Clippers offensively. Amazingly, all of this happened with Harden, the MVP runner-up, sitting on the bench the entire fourth quarter. “That group just went out there and they just scrambled, they fought and they played their tails off on defense,” Rockets coach Kevin McHale said. “They had a great sense about them that they were going to accomplish something.” The Rockets went on a 23-2 run to take a 111-102 lead with 1:44 left. Dazed fans began clearing out. “We took our foot off the gas, stopped defending, a lot of things,” said Blake Griffin, who finished with 28 points and missed all five of his shots in the fourth quarter when the Clippers were 4 of 22 from the field. Game 7 is Sunday in Houston.