Houston Rockets 118, Detroit Pistons 110: Rockets hold on, again

What’s the best way to get back on track after a tough loss to the Clippers and a long five game road trip?  Play etroit at home.  As the Rockets announcers noted, there isn’t much D in Detroit.  The Pistons were a step slower than the Rockets and Houston made them pay, in the first half.  At the end of the first half Harden saved the ball from going out of bounds to Howard at the top of the key and he gave an amazing alley oop to Jones for the slam.  The Rockets are up off the bench and the half finally ends with Howard trying a 3 from the corner.  It’s all smiles into the locker room, as the Rockets took a 69 to 46 halftime lead.

The second half was another story.  The Pistons took it to the Rockets 64 to 49 in the second.  It could have been another Tale of Two Halves loss.  The Rockets transition defense totally fell apart in the 4th quarter.  At one point in the 4th quarter Detroit had outscored Houston in the paint 24 to 2.  The Pistons got fast easy points in transition time after time.  It was ugly!  At a time when the Rockets needed to run some time, Detroit came down and scored layup after layup with hardly any time coming off the clock.  The coasting Rockets made it a game at the end, thankfully Beverley saved the day.

Player Breakdowns

Beverley tied a career high with 5 from behind the line, and 3 of them were daggers in the final quarter when the Rockets offense bogged down like days of old.  No one was moving, the ball wasn’t moving and everyone was cold.  Thank goodness Beverley got hot.  He took 9 from behind the arc and finished with 19 points.

Casspi looked good in his first action in a few games.  With Hamilton jumping over him in the depth chart, Omri has something to prove. He came out hot tonight and got 11 points in his first 8 minute stretch on the floor.  He ended with 16 points in only 15 minutes.  His scoring helped drive the big first half run, though he did end up with a 0 +/-.

Terrence Jones had a bounce back game as he’s been a little quiet lately.  His rebounding looked strong in the middle and he ended up with a double double of 22 and 10.  He shot 10 of 15 and played 32 minutes to D Mo’s 16 tonight.  His solid play is critical and when he’s exceptional, like tonight, the Rockets are tough to beat.

Hamilton ended up 6 of 12 from the field but struggled from behind the arc, shooting only 1 of 6.  It’s amazing how he has stepped into the rotation and fit right into the flow for the Rockets.  With Parsons out ill tonight, Hamilton slid right into the starting lineup and held court. He can get to the basket well and his athleticism fits right into the T Jones and Chandler Parsons mold.  He runs the court, finishes, stretches out on defense and is not shy shooting the 3 ball.

Harden had a quiet game of sorts.  It seemed like he was into passing tonight in a way that Kobe used to do lots of nights.  He had 12 assists and was really getting into his role as facilitator.  He made some sweet passes to Howard and Jones for big dunks.  He was also the one finding Beverley in the 4th quarter.  It was smart playmaking by Harden, as he was 1 of 6 from behind the line. In the last quarter he was either dishing off or taking it to the hole to be fouled, instead of launching it when he wasn’t feeling it.

Lin continues to struggle.  He shot only 1 of 6 and managed only 17 minutes tonight.  He and Harden both had 4 turnovers.  This would have been a good game to get going with the first half so wide open for the Rockets, but his shot just hasn’t been going in as of late.  His scoring average is going down and his confidence is as well.  It will be critical, come playoff time, for him to climb out of his slump and get it going again.

As amazing as the first half was for the Rockets they still continue to struggle putting 4 quarters together.  They’ll have to tighten down the hatches in this upcoming stretch of games.  With some monster games on the schedule coming up (Miami twice, OKC and Indiana, all in the next 7 games), it would have been nice to increase the lead in the third quarter and rest the starters in the 4th quarter.  But Rocket fans know that when Houston has a big lead, the ride is just starting.

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Total comments: 18
  • BrentYen says 6 months ago

    Lin has been discussed too many times here, I think it is simply a big slump. It is just he does not have guaranteed minutes in ROX to go tru it quicker. Plus for a 2nd unit leader (at least I think he is), the whole unit really were not cohesive when he was in a funk. Hotter shootings can resolve most of his problems but not all. Compare to his shootings, I think it is more important that he plays the right way. But when you are in a slump, and not thing seems to work. I think lesser experienced player tend to start doing stupid things (e.g. bad TOVs). I hope he bounce back soon.

  • lawprofsr says 6 months ago

    I think Jeremy is bored. He was never a good practice player, instead he was one of those players that always seemed to produce for the big games. He really likes to be in in the fourth quarter of a close game. When he is playing with the second unit and the starters hand over a big lead, he is really just passing the time, and he gets sloppy and unfocused. Isaiah Thomas used to do that, too. There have been a lot of games with periods like that during this winning stretch.

    That's neither an excuse nor a condemnation. Just who I think he is right now. Jeremy gets bored, James gets lazy and a little selfish, Dwight gets nervous, and Pat gets a little manic after a big play, and starts slapping his teammates around a little too hard (have you noticed that?). They all have to deal with their own issues.

    By the way, I think it's possible for two things to both be true: 1) Given the current mix of talent and style and standing that the Houston Rockets have right now, Jeremy's best role is as a sparkplug off the bench. When he is in a groove he might rescue the starters more than a few times. 2) If a team gave him more time and faith and focus--running plays for him, letting him play through dry spells--he could develop into an All-Star. But no one has the right to have that handed to them. He might be better off individually on a team that wasn't in the playoff mix right now, but he doesn't get to decide that.

  • rm90025 says 6 months ago

    The only issue with Lin is that his shooting % has been off for 5 games. That will turn itself around. He has been lucky to avoid a slump up to this point because he has played out of position and in a roles that are not suited to his strengths, yet he has found ways to contribute. Most NBA players would struggle (and have struggled) when not playing a position or role that aligns to their games. Houston fans seem to have very short memories. The big wins streak that moved Houston into contention for a top 4 spot in the West was ignited in part by Jeremy Lin, and that was only a few weeks ago. He, of course, could silence the critics with a strong March because Houston's schedule is very difficult and they will need a big contribution from Lin to avoid losing ground to the Clippers, Spurs and Blazers.

  • BrentYen says 6 months ago

    I don know if he is been focused or not, but seems in general, most teams pack the paint for Lin (and Harden too). Why not?penetration is Lin and Harden's primary function. The difference between Lin and Harden is, when Harden does not have an open lane, he will 1) shoot the jumper (no matter good or bad shot), 2) swing the ball to the weak side. He rarely gets "stucked". It is never about beating your own man, it is about once the help defenses come, what do you do.

  • feelingsupersonic says 6 months ago I have to disagree. I don't think teams are packing the paint on Lin or focusing extra defensive efforts to thwart him, Lin is just playing that poorly. He seems to have lost a great deal of confidence. To me he is a streaky player and I hope he gets a streak going in April against the easy schedule and by playoff time he will have reestablished himself.
  • PhillyCheese says 6 months ago

    I agree JG but that guy is an obvious troll. To lump him in with Lin fans is an insult to Lin fans. I just think we should address the singular idiotic post rather than once again generalising. I hope Lin can retain that swagger that made him good rather than the current pathethic shell of self-doubt that we see now. Teams are packing the paint on him and daring him to shoot. He needs to shoot when he is open.He needs to startthose curls in the lane with the intention of coming out to shoot not to pass out. He needs to think so what if he misses an open three, that was a good shot to take. If he does not establish the shot, he'll never get in the paint, no matter how quick his first step is.

    This is not to blame the other Rox because it is all on Lin, but his teammtes are not cutting and moving when he has the ball. That means he has to take it upon himself more. He has to understand that passing to DMo and Asik are different than passing to Dwight. His teammates are not looking for the cute little drop passes and those home run passes, probably cause they thought the coaches do not want those kinds of passes being attempted, so Lin has to get on the same page.

    I'm impressed how easily Hamilton has blended in. He is doing simple things like finding the open space and making judicious cuts to the basket.

  • kevingan says 6 months ago

    I wonder how many other players at the end of some bench are as good as Hamilton seems to be (knock on wood!). I've seen a half a dozen Nuggets games in the last two years, and I don't remember seeing him even once! When the trade was announced, I had no idea who he was. Talk about pulling a rabbit out of the hat....Morey the Magician!

  • thejohnnygold says 6 months ago

    Kevingan, I agree that Lin doesn't seem to get much respect from the referees. That is strange as usually the aggressive player gets the call. Perhaps in Lin's case he is not getting them for a couple of reasons. One, he often looks out of control and that can quickly turn a referee against you when trying to draw a foul. Two, his popularity. While it should have no bearing on what happens on the court the referees may be influenced by the many fanatics and subconsciously over-compensate in the other direction. (that one is a quite a bit of conjecture, but I could see that influencing things).

    I agree that the days of thinking Lin is any more than a rotational player are gone. Sure, given the keys to the offense he can put up numbers....but so can Randy Foye and I promise you nobody is lining up to make him the #1 option on their team. I still like him on the team and want him to get back to being a solid contributor for us. The bottom line is HE needs to play better. Sure, the fit could be better, but that doesn't mean he can't play at at least an average level.

    I'm also 100% on board the Jordan Hamilton Train (did anyone hear Bill Worrell call him, "Slam-ilton" against Detroit?).

  • feelingsupersonic says 6 months ago Lin is what we have known him to be an inconsistent rotation player that will be overshadowed by Harden and others while he is here unless he gets on one of his streaks. It's okay he is not a top 5 crucial piece in Houston. In my opinion his most important contribution is that along with Harden and Parsons he provides the attacking the basket crucial to this read and react 3 and rim offense. Now saying that if that can be replaced with another rotation player like Hamilton then you have the 3 guys so that 2 are always on the floor and attacking the basket. Perhaps Hamilton doesn't have the handles once he begins getting defended properly but if does and he can shoot the 3 lookout. The point is if Beverley can improve some on the offensive end perhaps the Rockets can win regardless of the clear weaknesses at the 1. When slumping players like Casspi, Garcia and Lin can just play solid team ball while the key players get rest the Rockets should be okay down the stretch.

    One thing that I would really like to see is Parsons sit and get Hamilton some run. Parsons is going to need legs under him down the stretch otherwise his defense against elite 3's and the Western Conference 4's will be nonexistent. Plus if he gets tired legs he will drive less and shoot poorly when settling for contested 3's. If Parsons plays poorly it brings him down and effects the team, I actually see Howard stepping up in that role.

    The job McHale and staff have done this year is commendable.
  • kevingan says 6 months ago

    To answer your question.....

    Posts like this. This kind of finger-pointing-boo-hooing stuff is a broken record...a bad one.....really bad, like The Best of William Hung: The B-Sides bad. For those who aren't familiar....his rise to "stardom" began right here:

    Implying that McHale takes pleasure in one of his players struggling is ridiculous. The rest of the statement is equally ridiculous. He hasn't been here two years. He has never been cut off. He has been on a steady decline all season long. For what reason? Nobody knows.

    McHale is trying to win games and he will play whoever is helping that cause. Nobody cried for Garcia when he got supplanted by Casspi. Nobody cried for Casspi when he found himself riding the pine. The only person who gets "mistreated" is Jeremy. When D-Mo is benched McHale is lauded of his tough love in forcing D-Mo to do the necessary work to get better. When he does the same for Lin, he is a masochist who takes joy in Jeremy's suffering. :unsure:

    To be curt, save this stuff for the forums that enjoy feeding such inanity. It has no place here. If people want to discuss Jeremy's poor shooting or poor decision making--that's fine. He is still finishing at the rim (when he doesn't turn the ball over) at a very high rate. He still manages to sport a positive +/- in 11 of his last 13 games. Save the Mom-I'm-getting-bullied-at-school-pity-parties for another forum. We are cleaning up these boards so that we don't wind up in the same boat as other fan forums.

    Amen, JG! Well said, and needed to be said. The other forums are very interesting as a case study in social pathology--sheer viciousness directed at total strangers to an astonishing extent--but there seems to be hardly any legitimate basketball discussion whatsoever. It's a real relief, like a cleansing shower, to read this board instead.

    I've been mystified by Lin's slump also, but assuming he isn't hiding an injury, I see two possible causes, one immediate and one systemic: a) a shooting slump, which happens to every player, and has badly affected what he can do in the paint and his overall confidence; anda longer term difficulty with his role in this system, which is not a natural fit for him, as we all know since the Harden trade. I watched Dwight in LA last year, and I see him this year: it's hard to overstate how much difference it makes for a player when he's in a system that fits him, versus when he's not. Dwight is a different player! Despite the stat line, he was really pretty bad last year; this year, as we all see, he's playing great, and he's become a genuine leader: besides the much improved post moves, the biggest difference is his confidence and his relaxed poise--purely mental. Lin has tried hard, obviously, but I think he's always swimming upstream, and that probably makes adjusting to the shooting slump even harder.

    There's a third possibility: maybe he reads or hears about the constant hatred that's directed at him on the other boards. I sure hope not! The only thing I can compare that awfulness to is the blind hatred we've been directing at our presidents since Bill Clinton. I suppose they'll be accusing Jeremy of murdering Vince Foster one of these days! In the meantime, though, I hope some work with his shooting coach will pay off soon, and improve his overall game in the process. In time for the playoffs!

    P.S. I can't say for sure, because these things are subjective: but for the amount he gets knocked down, I think he gets fewer calls than some other players who drive to the basket a lot. I'd like to see him get mad at a non-call instead of incredulous (that face he puts on), and even get a technical--I think it might help him!

  • redfaithful says 6 months ago

    Nice game from the SF position:

    10-15 FG 4-10 3FG 5-6 FT 7 REB 3 AST 2 TO 29 PTS

    And Parsons was sick...

  • thejohnnygold says 6 months ago

    I thought Lin's play was indifferent, sloppy and mind boggling. Definitely disappointed, but the team won so ... Reminds me of his high school coach saying he performed like crap against inferior comp and raises his game against better teams. The only problem is he will never get to show it against the elite teams because he's showing the coach nothing against the crappy teams. But, once again what does his fans have to do with any of this?

    To answer your question.....

    "...Lin continues to struggle. ... His scoring average is going down and his confidence is as well." - McHale must be very happy to say: "See, I told you that Lin is no good, and that's why I cut him off two years ago"

    Posts like this. This kind of finger-pointing-boo-hooing stuff is a broken record...a bad one.....really bad, like The Best of William Hung: The B-Sides bad. For those who aren't familiar....his rise to "stardom" began right here:

    Implying that McHale takes pleasure in one of his players struggling is ridiculous. The rest of the statement is equally ridiculous. He hasn't been here two years. He has never been cut off. He has been on a steady decline all season long. For what reason? Nobody knows.

    McHale is trying to win games and he will play whoever is helping that cause. Nobody cried for Garcia when he got supplanted by Casspi. Nobody cried for Casspi when he found himself riding the pine. The only person who gets "mistreated" is Jeremy. When D-Mo is benched McHale is lauded of his tough love in forcing D-Mo to do the necessary work to get better. When he does the same for Lin, he is a masochist who takes joy in Jeremy's suffering. :unsure:

    To be curt, save this stuff for the forums that enjoy feeding such inanity. It has no place here. If people want to discuss Jeremy's poor shooting or poor decision making--that's fine. He is still finishing at the rim (when he doesn't turn the ball over) at a very high rate. He still manages to sport a positive +/- in 11 of his last 13 games. Save the Mom-I'm-getting-bullied-at-school-pity-parties for another forum. We are cleaning up these boards so that we don't wind up in the same boat as other fan forums.

  • senkay says 6 months ago

    I'm not so worried about the missed shots, but the turnovers are so lazy and frustrating. I would have thought he'd be learning from Harden how to take it to the hole and get fouled. He hasn't been as physical going to the hole as he has been in the past. But, he still is averaging over 12 a game and when he is rolling he is super valuable. At the beginning of the year he was a serious contender for 6th man of the year. If he can get back towards that level we'll have a chance. Maybe Miami is enough of an opponent to step up his game for.

  • PhillyCheese says 6 months ago

    I'm getting frustrated with lin's inconsistency... and his fans. Hopefully he can get a good run come playoffs and be our 6MOY.

    Wish we had signed Dogi (Dragic) though.

    I thought Lin's play was indifferent, sloppy and mind boggling. Definitely disappointed, but the team won so ... Reminds me of his high school coach saying he performed like crap against inferior comp and raises his game against better teams. The only problem is he will never get to show it against the elite teams because he's showing the coach nothing against the crappy teams. But, once again what does his fans have to do with any of this?

  • Hockey the Harden Way says 6 months ago

    Wish we had signed Dogi (Dragic) though.

    Knicks fans wish this happened too.

    Back when Lin had that triple double (seems like long ago), a friend watching the postgame noticed a "slur" in Lin's speech. I didn't think much about it at the time, but I now wonder if there may be something really up with him, beyond just being in a huge slump.

  • Dayak says 6 months ago I really wanna see Lin to build up his confidence and bounce back from his slump. It will be a disaster when come playoff time while Lin leads the 2nd unit with the way he plays right now.
  • Buckko says 6 months ago

    I'm getting frustrated with lin's inconsistency... and his fans. Hopefully he can get a good run come playoffs and be our 6MOY.

    Wish we had signed Dogi (Dragic) though.

  • p453833 says 6 months ago

    "...Lin continues to struggle. ... His scoring average is going down and his confidence is as well." - McHale must be very happy to say: "See, I told you that Lin is no good, and that's why I cut him off two years ago"