HOUSTON – Entangled in a long losing streak, the Houston Rockets put the ball into John Wall’s hands twice in the dying moments.
No luck, once again.
The Rockets extended their team-record losing streak to 20 games, falling to the Oklahoma City Thunder 114-112 on Sunday when Wall missed two shots in the final 10 seconds.
“We have no choice but to get up and push ourselves, learn and grow, and it starts with me,” Houston coach Stephen Silas said.
The Rockets’ streak is tied for the ninth worst situation in NBA history and the longest since the 28-game losing streak that set Philadelphia’s record in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons.
Houston took a 110-109 lead with less than three minutes to go. After the Rockets went ahead, Lu Dort blocked Wall’s layup from behind to protect a 113-112 lead.
“It was a great play, obviously, and a great second effort,” Thunder coach Mark Daigneault said. “He was a little offside and made a great comeback. I thought he was great too, offensively. I thought he really attacked.”
With 4.9 seconds to go, Houston flipped the ball close to his basket, with Jae’Sean Tate passing Wall. Guarded by Dort, Wall dribbled and attempted a deep 3-pointer from 29 feet that crashed to the left of the rim and backboard.
Isaiah Roby secured the rebound and victory for the Thunder. Wall was 1 of 7 of 3 in the game.
“It worked that way, it was supposed to end on a pick-and-roll,” Silas said of the final possession. “He didn’t. This hurts.”
Dort scored 23 points and Roby had 18 for the Thunder, who led by as much as 13 points. Svi Mykhailiuk and Justin Jackson each had 15 points off the bench.
“I’ve been trying to work to make good decisions at the end of games, and I thought I did well at the end today,” Dort said. “We just had to step up and make big plays at the end. We wanted to win, and that’s what we did.”
Christian Wood had 27 points, eight rebounds and two blocks for Houston, Wall had 24 points and seven assists, and Victor Oladipo had 23 points.
Wall, Wood and Oladipo combined for 40 points in the first half. It was only the fifth time in the entire season that all three players played in the same game.
The Rockets hit a franchise record of 28 3-pointers in a win over the Thunder on February 1, just three days before their last win. On Sunday, the Rockets were just 14 of 38 on 3s.
Sunday’s game was originally supposed to be the first game of the season on December 23, but was postponed due to COVID-19 protocols.
Associated Press contributed to this report.