Houston Rockets 126, Trail Blazers 113 – Second verse, different from the first

The Houston Rockets took center stage on a national broadcast, scored over 70 points in the first half against a top-flight Western Conference rival, and were shooting a ridiculous percent from three point range. Everything was in place for another historic collapse to match Thursday’s debacle. The Portland Trail Blazers stormed back and even trimmed a 20+ point deficit to a mere 6. Unlike the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Blazers were unable to clamp down on the Rockets, and Houston scored a perfectly reasonable 55 points in the second half. The ghosts of that collapse may not have been fully exorcised, but the Rockets have a lot of good reasons to be proud.

The biggest plus was the return of Patrick Beverley, Houston’s starting point guard. While there’s a lively debate to be had whether Jeremy Lin or Patrick Beverley is the better player, Beverley is overall a better defender, and against players like Damian Lillard, that’s huge for Houston. Lillard still had a good night, scoring 24 points on 17 shots and dishing 5 dimes, but the damage could have been far worse. His return deepens Houston’s bench considerably, allows for more defensive and offensive options and brings back another shooter. Welcome back, Patrick. We missed you.

The other big story on the night was shooting. The Rockets did it a lot, did it well, and kept doing it the whole time. Patrick Beverley’s 3-8 shooting was one of the worse three point lines for the team, to put it in perspective. The Rockets hit 48.5% from deep, and moreover they were shooting open threes. The offense was clicking again and the Rockets were obviously enjoying themselves. If Houston can find this sort of zeal more often, many of their mental lapses and fatigue issues should shrink considerably. They may be inexperienced, but that condition won’t last forever.

On the other hand, the Blazers are a mess on defense, especially in the post. Dwight Howard had a field day, shooting 9-15, grabbing 12 boards and racking up 24 points. LaMarcus Aldridge, on the other hand, took 26 shots to score 27 points, narrowly avoiding the dreaded “more attempts than points” club (though his 20 rebounds were phenomenal). Robin Lopez was primarily in charge of guarding Howard in the post, and he was not ready for it. Dwight is both faster and stronger than Lopez, which is little insult to Robin, who’s doing a great job otherwise. The Blazers chose not to double Howard in the vast majority of circumstances, and Dwight made them pay repeatedly.

Of course, Chandler Parsons cannot be ignored. He scored a game-high 31 points, shot 12-19 from the field, knocked down 3 threes, grabbed 10 boards, racked up 7 assists, threw in 2 blocks for fun and only committed 1 turnover. The Blazers may be a poor defensive team, but that’s an amazing line against any roster. With Terrence Jones briefly sidelined, Parsons showed up big when he was needed most. The player development that everyone has been waiting for seems to be happening in fits and starts, and a few more games like this will turn data points into trends.

James Harden chipped in with a 7-15 line to the tune of 22 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists. He also contributed 5 turnovers, but in a win that stings less. His defense seems to be picking up, and at least has more effort behind it if not more results. At one point he closed out on an open referee, so there’s still some room to grow. This may not have been a particularly good game from Harden, but the fact that 22, 6 and 5 represents a mediocre night says a lot about who he is as a player.

The Rockets are back, even though they never really left. With players returning from injury, January and early February will be a good time for the Rockets to get back to full strength before the inevitable trade out of left field. The game against the Thunder showed what happened when the wheels fall off and the threes stop falling. Tonight’s matchup with the Blazers showed what happens when the engine keeps chugging along. Houston may not have the best defense, or the most savvy players, or the deepest playbook, but they have talent. And sometimes talent counts.

View this discussion from the forum.

This entry was posted in game coverage and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.
Login to leave a comment.
Total comments: Merged
  • Steven says 5 months ago

    But Dallas won a ring so if they're cowards then they're cowards with a ring, and I would take that
    any day over a "brave" loser.

    Only cause they went up against the worst coach in the history of the NBA. Has anyone heard about JJ Berea before or after this series? The answer is no. Pat Riley Jr allowed some no named hobbit, to terrorize his team.

    And the fact you can only name one team, is the exception that proves my rule. They weren't good enough to go man-to-man, so they coward into a zone.
  • timetodienow1234567 says 5 months ago But Dallas won a ring so if they're cowards then they're cowards with a ring, and I would take that
    any day over a "brave" loser.
  • Steven says 5 months ago Zones are for cowards.
  • thejohnnygold says 5 months ago

    Ah, I see....I mistook your earlier comment and thought when you said "zone offense" you were just giving a name to our offense--not referring to our offense against the zone defense...my bad.

    Thank you for the heads up about watching all the plays. I'll try that.

    It makes sense. Our read and react offense is designed to create open space by bending the defense through penetration and double teams. In man this will work, but in a zone the defense doesn't bend the same way--the coaches will need to figure that out.

  • smeggysmeg says 5 months ago

    I see something different. I see the beginnings of an inside-out offense predicated on defensive movement creating open looks/spaces with cutters coming from all angles to keep the defense guessing as to where it is coming from. I like it.

    This genius offense is putting up 108.2 ppg in January...which is impressive until you look at the teams we played. Still, we are holding teams to 98.5 ppg which gives us an excellent +9.7 scoring margin for that period.

    Going back further, the Rockets have only been held under 100 points 3 times since December 1st (97, 98, 83) and two of those came early on. Since Dec. 8th only that 83 point clunker tarnishes our record.

    By the way, over that same stretch beginning in December, we are holding opponents to 96.5 ppg while we score 108.3 ppg for a scoring margin of +11.8. Considering our early schedule is one of the toughest in the league makes this all the more impressive.

    those highlights were certainly sweet, all were against man defense, Portland played several stints in a zone a few minutes... which I was the stuff I was commenting on and was all standing around... highlights are nice but looking at plays we dont score on can also tell you plenty

  • thejohnnygold says 6 months ago

    I see something different. I see the beginnings of an inside-out offense predicated on defensive movement creating open looks/spaces with cutters coming from all angles to keep the defense guessing as to where it is coming from. I like it.

    This genius offense is putting up 108.2 ppg in January...which is impressive until you look at the teams we played. Still, we are holding teams to 98.5 ppg which gives us an excellent +9.7 scoring margin for that period.

    Going back further, the Rockets have only been held under 100 points 3 times since December 1st (97, 98, 83) and two of those came early on. Since Dec. 8th only that 83 point clunker tarnishes our record.

    By the way, over that same stretch beginning in December, we are holding opponents to 96.5 ppg while we score 108.3 ppg for a scoring margin of +11.8. Considering our early schedule is one of the toughest in the league makes this all the more impressive.

  • Steven says 6 months ago Whatever the coaches are doing or not, it is working. Guess who has the best record in 2014? Kevin McHale. Might be time to strike up the old Worship at the alter of McHale thread again. ;)
  • smeggysmeg says 6 months ago

    sorry I'm a bit behind with games this week and just caught up...

    did anyone else notice the genius that was the rockets zone offense, sure the Portland zone was dreadful, and was thinking about posting a video or screen shots to show what i meant with regards to the rockets offense and then realised you just need to imagine 4 guys standing still on the perimeter and one guy in the strong side block... and that's the complete offense......

    what exactly do the rockets coaches do.....

  • SadLakerFan says 6 months ago

    I couldnt have said it any better myself. Patrick Beverly is key to this team's success.

    You mean as opposed to Harden, Howard and Parsons? Patrick, is that you?

  • Buckko says 6 months ago Ok but back to the point harden isn't there anymore and I never see durant play with such energy as he does against us.
  • thejohnnygold says 6 months ago

    I would take a 7 game series with the blazers. They simply do not have the personnel for defense for the playoffs. They have the 22nd rank D, we have the 10th. Not to mention our D will only get better with health,chemistry, and experience. We can all agree that harden is getting better, getting P-Bev back, and asik coming back soon is fantastic. Now I would like to play the spurs too and AVOID OKC, boy Durant has our number. Ever wonder if he harbors a secret resentment for harden for forcing his way out to houston, leading us to the playoffs and Beverly giving Westbrook a career jeopardizing injury when they could've been in the greatest dynasty since Jordan?

    I'm pretty sure that's not what happened. OKC management knew they could only pay one of Ibaka or Harden and opted for Ibaka. Harden was shown the door. If Durant harbors resentment for anyone it's Presti for trading Jeff Green for Perkins and not amnestying Perk which directly led to Harden's departure. Harden wanted to stay in OKC. They would be closing out games with Westbrook, Harden, Durant, Green, and Ibaka on the floor....never lose a 4th quarter again.

  • Buckko says 6 months ago I would take a 7 game series with the blazers. They simply do not have the personnel for defense for the playoffs. They have the 22nd rank D, we have the 10th. Not to mention our D will only get better with health,chemistry, and experience. We can all agree that harden is getting better, getting P-Bev back, and asik coming back soon is fantastic. Now I would like to play the spurs too and AVOID OKC, boy Durant has our number. Ever wonder if he harbors a secret resentment for harden for forcing his way out to houston, leading us to the playoffs and Beverly giving Westbrook a career jeopardizing injury when they could've been in the greatest dynasty since Jordan?
  • thenit says 6 months ago

    It was a good win, and good to see Bev out there. He is just such a better fit next to Harden and the other starters, while I think Lin will get back into rhytm in a few games with the other rotation players. Lin has played poorly in January.

    I would say all our rotation players are important to our success in the playoffs. Some more and some less. Good to see Dmo play well again, I'm just wondering why we don't feed the man 1 or 2 times a game in the post. He has better move than Dwight and should be able to have a good mis match with opposing PF.

  • HoopsReportCard says 6 months ago I couldnt have said it any better myself. Patrick Beverly is key to this team's success.
  • Sir Thursday says 6 months ago

    Measuring Aldridge on points-per-shot is a bit misleading in this game. Several of his 8 offensive rebounds were recovering his own missed shots and going back up, the net effect of which is that his shooting numbers are made to look worse than the reality of his effectiveness while his rebounding totals are slightly padded.

    Really good win for the Rockets tonight. I can't quite figure out whether I'd want to face these Blazers in a best of 7 series though. Based on what I've seen so far I'd probably prefer San Antonio, as strange as that sounds.

    ST

  • timetodienow1234567 says 6 months ago Lol.
  • Alituro says 6 months ago

    It's great to have Beverley back... (LOFs excluded) Am I the only one around here that gnashes his teeth every time Lin has the ball? I'm repeatedly mumbling to myself "Don't turn it over, Don't turn it over,Don't turn it over" I'm ok with the dribble-drives that result in a shot, but when they don't, the whole rest of the team only scrambles to be in a spot to bail him out.I'd say about 95% of the time leads to a bad pass and about 75% of the time a TO. The 25% the pass is caught by a teammate, usually they're out of position and have their backs against the shot clock. Of course these percentages aren't verified, but it's what my eye sees, anybody know what his true TO % is on drives when he doesn't shoot? To his credit, I've seen games where he has behaved like a true PG and has done very good at it, and is the mode he should be in if he's on the floor with Harden, I just don't see it often enough. Also to his credit, when Harden is out, there is few others I'd rather see with the ball trying to create shots. It frustrates me to no end though to see the rest of the guys continually trying to be in a position to bail him out when he hits a brick wall. As the 5th scoring option on the floor when Harden, Howard, Parsons and Jones are on the floor (4th with Jones out), he doesn't need to be doing that crap, only when he is elevated to 1st or 2nd option. Beverley understands this role and only takes opportune shots in the flow of the offense, while he doesn't rack up crazy assist totals, I'd bet his hockey assists are high and he PROTECTS THE BALL all of the time.

    D-mo had a respectable outing with Jones out..

  • Red94 says 6 months ago New post: Houston Rockets 126, Trail Blazers 113 - Second verse, different from the first
    By: Forrest Walker

    The Houston Rockets took center stage on a national broadcast, scored over 70 points in the first half against a top-flight Western Conference rival, and were shooting a ridiculous percent from three point range. Everything was in place for another historic collapse to match Thursday's debacle. The Portland Trail Blazers stormed back and even trimmed a 20+ point deficit to a mere 6. Unlike the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Blazers were unable to clamp down on the Rockets, and Houston scored a perfectly reasonable 55 points in the second half. The ghosts of that collapse may not have been fully exorcised, but the Rockets have a lot of good reasons to be proud.

    The biggest plus was the return of Patrick Beverley, Houston's starting point guard. While there's a lively debate to be had whether Jeremy Lin or Patrick Beverley is the better player, Beverley is overall a better defender, and against players like Damian Lillard, that's huge for Houston. Lillard still had a good night, scoring 24 points on 17 shots and dishing 5 dimes, but the damage could have been far worse. His return deepens Houston's bench considerably, allows for more defensive and offensive options and brings back another shooter. Welcome back, Patrick. We missed you.

    The other big story on the night was shooting. The Rockets did it a lot, did it well, and kept doing it the whole time. Patrick Beverley's 3-8 shooting was one of the worse three point lines for the team, to put it in perspective. The Rockets hit 48.5% from deep, and moreover they were shooting open threes. The offense was clicking again and the Rockets were obviously enjoying themselves. If Houston can find this sort of zeal more often, many of their mental lapses and fatigue issues should shrink considerably. They may be inexperienced, but that condition won't last forever.

    On the other hand, the Blazers are a mess on defense, especially in the post. Dwight Howard had a field day, shooting 9-15, grabbing 12 boards and racking up 24 points. LaMarcus Aldridge, on the other hand, took 26 shots to score 27 points, narrowly avoiding the dreaded "more points than attempts" club (though his 20 rebounds were phenomenal). Robin Lopez was primarily in charge of guarding Howard in the post, and he was not ready for it. Dwight is both faster and stronger than Lopez, which is little insult to Robin, who's doing a great job otherwise. The Blazers chose not to double Howard in the vast majority of circumstances, and Dwight made them pay repeatedly.

    Of course, Chandler Parsons cannot be ignored. He scored a game-high 31 points, shot 12-19 from the field, knocked down 3 threes, grabbed 10 boards, racked up 7 assists, threw in 2 blocks for fun and only committed 1 turnover. The Blazers may be a poor defensive team, but that's an amazing line against any roster. With Terrence Jones briefly sidelined, Parsons showed up big when he was needed most. The player development that everyone has been waiting for seems to be happening in fits and starts, and a few more games like this will turn data points into trends.

    James Harden chipped in with a 7-15 line to the tune of 22 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists. He also contributed 5 turnovers, but in a win that stings less. His defense seems to be picking up, and at least has more effort behind it if not more results. At one point he closed out on an open referee, so there's still some room to grow. This may not have been a particularly good game from Harden, but the fact that 22, 6 and 5 represents a mediocre night says a lot about who he is as a player.

    The Rockets are back, even though they never really left. With players returning from injury, January and early February will be a good time for the Rockets to get back to full strength before the inevitable trade out of left field. The game against the Thunder showed what happened when the wheels fall off and the threes stop falling. Tonight's matchup with the Blazers showed what happens when the engine keeps chugging along. Houston may not have the best defense, or the most savvy players, or the deepest playbook, but they have talent. And sometimes talent counts.

  • Buckko says 6 months ago Well we can say our 3 best players out class the blazers best 3. The blazers are not on San Antonio's and okc's level IMO. Having the 22nd best D is going to get you no where in the playoffs.
  • SadLakerFan says 6 months ago

    Very impressive! Didn't see the game - last game of the Texas three-step, Blazers may have been tired (?), but Rockets destroyed them on the boards (9 from Motiejunas?). Coming out party for Parsons 31-10-7 is nice. Hopefully, with Beverly back, McHale can reduce Parson's and Harden'sminutes in games againstlesser opponents, b/c 40+ a nightis a lot to ask.

    Didn't see the Lakers game either, but I noticed that Pau had 20 and 19.

  • feelingsupersonic says 6 months ago Another big test for the Rockets tonight and I expect they will lose. I would like to see the Rockets make it a game though with a balanced offensive attack and defensive stops down the stretch. It's like tomebrokeoff once qouted Scotty Brooks, and I'm paraphrasing here, the Rockets are not losing but learning how to win.