Houston Rockets 109, Boston Celtics 85: Bad team, good win

The Boston Celtics aren’t a good NBA team this season. They aren’t supposed to be competitive, given the prizes that await the top teams in the NBA lottery next summer and the long-term benefits of landing a potential phenom player. The Houston Rockets are hoping to occupy the lofty ranks of championship contenders, a caliber of play which requires comfortable wins over lottery-bound teams like Boston. It would be easy to discount this win if it weren’t for the fact that for the first time this season, the Rockets looked in sync.

Given, the Celtics have a team that can be charitably described at inexperienced. Given, the Celtics missed open shots repeatedly and had inexplicable turnovers. All caveats and asterisks aside, however, the Rockets gave not only their best effort of the season but experienced their best results. The game ended with a twenty-four point victory for the Rockets, and it wasn’t as close as that makes it seem. Elite teams have to be able to blow out the lottery dwellers of the league, and that’s exactly what happened. Terrence Jones detonated, the rest of the team picked and rolled the Celtics to death, and the starters got to rest up for a division rival game the following evening.

The bad news is that Ömer Aşık didn’t play until the game was well into garbage time, implying that he’s still residing in head coach Kevin McHale’s doghouse. The noises from his camp lately have been conciliatory, but there’s still clearly a rift between Aşık and the Rockets organization. As long as he plays out the weeks until a trade in good faith, both sides will be on track to an amicable resolution. If he continues to sulk, things will get worse for everyone involved. The fact that he took the court at all implies movement in the correct direction, and this will continue to be a storyline that’s impossible to ignore.

The good news? There’s a lot of good news. Terrence Jones was the star of the show, going off for 24 points to lead all scorers. He sank his first 8 shots and ended up an incredible 10-12 from the field, including 3-4 from three point land. He grabbed 9 boards and picked up a pair of blocks to go with only 1 turnover in the performance of his young career. His defense is improving, his decision making is progressing, and his shot is getting better. The Rockets had a major hole at the power forward slot, and Jones is doing everything in his power to justify himself as the solution. He’s averaged a double-double since he entered the starting lineup, and by giving Houston a workable solution at the four, he’s probably doing more to increase Ömer Aşık’s trade value than Ömer Aşık himself.

Several other Rockets played basketball tonight, too. Donatas Motiejunas had the best block of the game, chasing down Kelly Olynyk to erase his fastbreak and give the Rockets their tenth block on the night. Aside from that, he looked serviceable if not exactly good, missing all 4 three point attempts but grabbing five boards and playing acceptable defense. Patrick Beverley seemed to find his three point stroke again, something he’s badly needed in the first then games of the season.

The whole starting unit, in fact, was lethal from deep, shooting 7-10 in total. Harden looked to pass more than shoot, despite his perfect 3-3 from three, and ended up with 5 assists and 15 points on 8 shots. Howard was good, scoring in the paint on his way to another double double: 11 rebounds and an impressive 10 points on 4 shots. In fact, the whole team was good. Howard, Jones, Parsons, Lin Beverley and Harden all scored in the double digits, leading the Rockets to the most even-handed scoring effort of the year.

The Rockets got off to a terrifying 18-1 start and never looked back. There were no brief comebacks, no scoring droughts, no extended periods of defensive collapse. The Houston Rockets ran the pick and roll, high-speed, transition heavy offense they excelled at last season and in the preseason, and it worked just as well as could be hoped. A win against a struggling team isn’t as impressive as a win against a contender, but any win this clean and well-run can only be a good sign for the Rockets.

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  • rockets best fan says 10 months ago

    I still think DMO's ceiling is higher potential, but tjones is definetly ahead on the curve. But guys DMO's height, potential size/weight/strength and with a soft touch just do not happen or when they do it takes awhile to round out there game.

    Aka, yao, hibbert, etc etc

    If DMO can put on about 30 more pounds ish? (he's listed at 225, if he can be btwn 250 and 260) without losing speed or fluidity over the next two years, i think he's possibly a starting center all-star long term. Key being his weight/strength without losing his quickness.

    Tjones is a freak though man, he reminds me of lamar odom actually, less handles but better ups tho. Minus the kardashian.

    I would agree D-Mo's ceiling is higher, but he still has far to go. I also agree the key is for him isto get stronger without losing the quickness. don't know if I see star potential though. still to early in his development curve to tell IMO

  • Losthief says 10 months ago

    while I prefer T-Jones to D-Mo.............I agree with our statement. if D-Mo can supply some meaningful backup center minutes it completely changes what the Rockets should pursue via trade for Asik

    I still think DMO's ceiling is higher potential, but tjones is definetly ahead on the curve. But guys DMO's height, potential size/weight/strength and with a soft touch just do not happen or when they do it takes awhile to round out there game.

    Aka, yao, hibbert, etc etc

    If DMO can put on about 30 more pounds ish? (he's listed at 225, if he can be btwn 250 and 260) without losing speed or fluidity over the next two years, i think he's possibly a starting center all-star long term. Key being his weight/strength without losing his quickness.

    Tjones is a freak though man, he reminds me of lamar odom actually, less handles but better ups tho. Minus the kardashian.

  • rockets best fan says 10 months ago

    Being a big D-Mo fan (but not one to bitch and moan when Jones is starting and playing inspired basketball) I would like to say that his defense is looking totally acceptable right now, even at the center position. We all believe Asik will be traded sometime in the indeterminate future and the best possible case is that D-Mo can step right in as the backup center. If that happens Morey can trade Asik and not leave a gaping hole that has to be filled. Best possible outcome.

    while I prefer T-Jones to D-Mo.............I agree with our statement. if D-Mo can supply some meaningful backup center minutes it completely changes what the Rockets should pursue via trade for Asik

  • NorEastern says 10 months ago

    Being a big D-Mo fan (but not one to bitch and moan when Jones is starting and playing inspired basketball) I would like to say that his defense is looking totally acceptable right now, even at the center position. We all believe Asik will be traded sometime in the indeterminate future and the best possible case is that D-Mo can step right in as the backup center. If that happens Morey can trade Asik and not leave a gaping hole that has to be filled. Best possible outcome.

  • Alituro says 10 months ago

    I heard TJ, after the game state that he wants to keep up with Dwight on his blocks per game. That inner-team competition speaks volumes about the camaraderie that this team is developing. When you couple that with Dwight's almost man-crush-like comments about Jones you realize that the team trusts Jones, which goes a long way towards his future potential and success. The kid really has the complete package, doing it all and completely doing away with our need for just a "stretch 4", because he can be that too. My vote for his nickname and more RED94 t-shirt themes originates here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIbp5C-5WXM

  • rocketrick says 10 months ago

    I agree provided this guy can figure it out
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    Good one RBF!

    10 games into the season it seems pretty evident to me that Coach McHale is more than willing to experiment, so to speak, with his rotations. Much more to come as the Rockets are deeper than they have probably ever been since way back when McHale was created by that mad scientist, whoever he was, I forget....
  • rocketrick says 10 months ago

    I only caught the end of the third and fourth quarters, but I agree that Jones looked mighty good. His play relieves lots of pressure for the front office. Not that Morey would panic and lose Asik for pennies on the dollar, but any trade is better when made from a position of strength. The first few games made Houston look like a team in a weaker position when it came to the trading block. Jones is asserting that even if Morey chose not to trade Asik, Houston will still be in a good position. Upgrading the four is a luxury right now, not a necessity, which returns a little bit of leverage into the capable hands of the Houston front office.


    I've stated in other posts that I believe the best value for Asik may be something other than a PF that can stretch the floor and possibly play some backup C minutes (just exactly who is out there that can do both anyway??)

    I believe that another high value wing player is what the Rockets need this season adding more depth and at the same time Asik should bring back at minimum 2 quality players. Be that a backup C or a better backup PG for AB.

    Obviously if Morey can pull off a tremendous trade bringing a valuable PF in return for Asik, I'm certainly in.

    It's time to start expanding what value Asik may return back to the Rockets in my opinion.
  • Losthief says 10 months ago

    T-Jones is beginning to blossom right before our eyes.

    been WAY more consistent than i'd even hoped for...*knock knock* that that continues. excellent showing so far, also like how it seems the ball handlers look for him more than they did for asik or omni, esp in transition so far.

  • rockets best fan says 10 months ago

    I mentioned it in the Asik thread - and totally agree with Drew about T Jones. his continued growth opens up things for Morey A TON

    T-Jones is beginning to blossom right before our eyes.

  • tombrokeoff says 10 months ago

    I mentioned it in the Asik thread - and totally agree with Drew about T Jones. his continued growth opens up things for Morey A TON

  • RollingWave says 10 months ago

    we're still giving up way too many offensive rebounds, but obviously a much needed crushing.

  • Red94 says 10 months ago New post: Houston Rockets 109, Boston Celtics 85: Bad team, good win
    By: Forrest Walker

    The Boston Celtics aren't a good NBA team this season. They aren't supposed to be competitive, given the prizes that await the top teams in the NBA lottery next summer and the long-term benefits of landing a potential phenom player. The Houston Rockets are hoping to occupy the lofty ranks of championship contenders, a caliber of play which requires comfortable wins over lottery-bound teams like Boston. It would be easy to discount this win if it weren't for the fact that for the first time this season, the Rockets looked in sync.

    Given, the Celtics have a team that can be charitably described at inexperienced. Given, the Celtics missed open shots repeatedly and had inexplicable turnovers. All caveats and asterisks aside, however, the Rockets gave not only their best effort of the season but experienced their best results. The game ended with a twenty-four point victory for the Rockets, and it wasn't as close as that makes it seem. Elite teams have to be able to blow out the lottery dwellers of the league, and that's exactly what happened. Terrence Jones detonated, the rest of the team picked and rolled the Celtics to death, and the starters got to rest up for a division rival game the following evening.

    The bad news is that Ömer Aşık didn't play until the game was well into garbage time, implying that he's still residing in head coach Kevin McHale's doghouse. The noises from his camp lately have been conciliatory, but there's still clearly a rift between Aşık and the Rockets organization. As long as he plays out the weeks until a trade in good faith, both sides will be on track to an amicable resolution. If he continues to sulk, things will get worse for everyone involved. The fact that he took the court at all implies movement in the correct direction, and this will continue to be a storyline that's impossible to ignore.

    The good news? There's a lot of good news. Terrence Jones was the star of the show, going off for 24 points to lead all scorers. He sank his first 8 shots and ended up an incredible 10-12 from the field, including 3-4 from three point land. He grabbed 9 boards and picked up a pair of blocks to go with only 1 turnover in the performance of his young career. His defense is improving, his decision making is progressing, and his shot is getting better. The Rockets had a major hole at the power forward slot, and Jones is doing everything in his power to justify himself as the solution. He's averaged a double-double since he entered the starting lineup, and by giving Houston a workable solution at the four, he's probably doing more to increase Ömer Aşık's trade value than Ömer Aşık himself.

    Several other Rockets played basketball tonight, too. Donatas Motiejunas had the best block of the game, chasing down Kelly Olynyk to erase his fastbreak and give the Rockets their tenth block on the night. Aside from that, he looked serviceable if not exactly good, missing all 4 three point attempts but grabbing five boards and playing acceptable defense. Patrick Beverley seemed to find his three point stroke again, something he's badly needed in the first then games of the season.

    The whole starting unit, in fact, was lethal from deep, shooting 7-10 in total. Harden looked to pass more than shoot, despite his perfect 3-3 from three, and ended up with 5 assists and 15 points on 8 shots. Howard was good, scoring in the paint on his way to another double double: 11 rebounds and an impressive 10 points on 4 shots. In fact, the whole team was good. Howard, Jones, Parsons, Lin Beverley and Harden all scored in the double digits, leading the Rockets to the most even-handed scoring effort of the year.

    The Rockets got off to a terrifying 18-1 start and never looked back. There were no brief comebacks, no scoring droughts, no extended periods of defensive collapse. The Houston Rockets ran the pick and roll, high-speed, transition heavy offense they excelled at last season and in the preseason, and it worked just as well as could be hoped. A win against a struggling team isn't as impressive as a win against a contender, but any win this clean and well-run can only be a good sign for the Rockets.

  • Drew in Abilene says 10 months ago

    I only caught the end of the third and fourth quarters, but I agree that Jones looked mighty good. His play relieves lots of pressure for the front office. Not that Morey would panic and lose Asik for pennies on the dollar, but any trade is better when made from a position of strength. The first few games made Houston look like a team in a weaker position when it came to the trading block. Jones is asserting that even if Morey chose not to trade Asik, Houston will still be in a good position. Upgrading the four is a luxury right now, not a necessity, which returns a little bit of leverage into the capable hands of the Houston front office.

  • 2016Champions says 10 months ago

    Our rotation defense has been so much better than usual this game.

  • RudyT1995 says 10 months ago

    Jones makes such a big difference just with his ability to catch and finish. Nice to not see interior passes being juggled or fumbled like they were with Dwight and Asik.

  • Cooper says 10 months ago It is just the celtics but they are playing very well, Especially jones.
  • 2016Champions says 10 months ago

    I don't think the Rockets really need a stretch 4. Terrence Jones has been doing well and will only get better. Their best option is to somehow get Asik to buy into the systemof havingthe chance to be an important part of a championship team. With Howard and Asik protecting the rim for 48 minutes the Rockets defense will be much better.

    The only options that I believe will be better than convincing Asik to play within the systemis for the Rockets to somehow trade him for Bosh or Aldridge (which will probably never happen -_-).

    Terrance Jones really impressed me this game, he has a very calm aggression in the way he plays, you can see his confidence growing and it is definitely starting to look like our question mark at the 4 has been answered.

  • 2016Champions says 10 months ago

    I love how we're just casually dominating this first half.

  • Alituro says 10 months ago

    I like the Lin/Young Nash comparison, in fact, I just mentioned that to my friend the other day watching the NYK game. He definitely reminds me of the Dallas version of Steve Nash, still just a little rough around the edges but with enormous potential.

    I like our status at the PF with Jones and D-mo and think Faried would weigh our post too defensively heavy paired with Howard, and not enough offensive creativity, which you get from Jones and Donuts.

    If indeed Asik is too emotionally distraught to be effective, I think we should do something sooner than later, getting a 1st rounder, top 5 or 10 protected, and maybe a 3rd tier center. The pick could be traded closer to the trade deadline (?) and it won't have Asik's cap hit along with it. A Morey-scouted top 10 pick absolutely has the potential value of Asik's current contract. Sign Henriquez to a 10-day until Smith gets back too.

  • marbony81110 says 10 months ago

    I don't think the Rockets really need a stretch 4. Terrence Jones has been doing well and will only get better. Their best option is to somehow get Asik to buy into the systemof havingthe chance to be an important part of a championship team. With Howard and Asik protecting the rim for 48 minutes the Rockets defense will be much better.

    The only options that I believe will be better than convincing Asik to play within the systemis for the Rockets to somehow trade him for Bosh or Aldridge (which will probably never happen -_-).

  • rockets best fan says 10 months ago

    The Rockets haven't even played well, are still learning schemes and dealing with chemistry/ personal problems and they are 7 and 4. Pretty soon it's all going to start coming together and this team is going to go on a tear.

    I agree provided this guy can figure it out
    a428c0fd1c66abc2e8764b260770e89c.jpg

  • Losthief says 10 months ago

    The Rockets haven't even played well, are still learning schemes and dealing with chemistry/ personal problems and they are 7 and 4. Pretty soon it's all going to start coming together and this team is going to go on a tear.

    *tare :P

    but ur absolutely correct, though i think it'll be more like pre-allstar break post-xmas time. But I fully expect us to finish the 2nd half of the season as a 70% win team, the question is what will our record be at the all-star break so what seed we get.

  • feelingsupersonic says 10 months ago

    The Rockets haven't even played well, are still learning schemes and dealing with chemistry/ personal problems and they are 7 and 4. Pretty soon it's all going to start coming together and this team is going to go on a tear.

  • rockets best fan says 10 months ago

    i really don't think faried's defense is all that good.

    I agree. Faried was flat outplayed by T-Jones in the Denver game. I consider that a downgrade. I like Faried's energy, but he is simply to short to guard the big PF's we will see in the playoffs. I'd rather take my chances with T-Jones and the great thing is we don't have to pay anything to get him. itis common knowledge Asik will be moved at some point, but the Rockets are not in a position of desperation. no need for a fire sale. I am more concerned with backup center minutes. when we do move Asik, that is a area that must be addressed. while D-Mo had a good game last game. I'm not ready to say he can handle the job. while the return of G-Smith will offer some stability to the position it still needs upgrading

  • Dayak says 10 months ago

    We already have "poor man" Faried in Terence Jones.

  • Losthief says 10 months ago

    i really don't think faried's defense is all that good.

  • timetodienow1234567 says 10 months ago I like Faried but he would be a much better fit with Lopez/Gasol/Bosh than with Howard.
  • Buckko says 10 months ago I disagree about faried, we need floor spacing.