|Luis Scola, PF 36 MIN | 10-20 FG | 5-7 FT | 8 REB | 3 AST | 25 PTS | -1
Coming off “The Stomp”, Scola was stupendous. With the Nuggets sporting a thin front line including no Nene, the Rockets’ big mismatch came with their veteran power forward taking advantage. He delivered his best game in about a month.
|Chandler Parsons, F 16 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 2 PTS | 0
Parsons didn’t see the court for much of the contest and was a non-factor when he was out there.
|Samuel Dalembert, C 7 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -4
Beginning the game as a turnstile, Dalembert was never given the opportunity to turn things around, as McHale chose to go deep into his bench’s front line and effectively give the ineffective Sammy a night off.
|Kevin Martin, SG 22 MIN | 1-9 FG | 6-7 FT | 1 REB | 4 AST | 8 PTS | -1
If Martin’s not scoring, there’s really nothing else he can bring to the table. Down the stretch, McHale chose to take the normally consistent Martin’s minutes and give them to Courtney Lee. Because he’s so one dimensional, anytime Martin finds himself in a slump it’s cause for concern.
|Kyle Lowry, PG 33 MIN | 7-11 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 6 AST | 20 PTS | +12
Underrated game for Lowry. The stats aren’t teetering on a triple double, but don’t frown! Lowry did it all: knocking down five timely threes to snuff out any hopeful Nuggets run, and smothering Ty Lawson (one of the three fastest players in the league) to the tune of a meager 13 points when Denver looked to him as their No. 1 option. A few heady flops down the stretch didn’t hurt either.
|Courtney Lee, SG 32 MIN | 4-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 10 PTS | +15
As was previously mentioned, Lee found himself on the court down the stretch of a tight ball game. It’s clear that Houston’s coaching staff trusts him in big spots; it’s huge for his confidence, and even bigger for the Rockets versatility.
|Jeff Adrien, F 17 MIN | 1-3 FG | 1-2 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 3 PTS | +15
This came out of nowhere. With Sammy on the sidelines, Adrien was busy regulating the boards like a young Warren G. These are the type of performances he’ll have to have when he’s gift wrapped playing time if he wants to stay in the league.
|Chase Budinger, SF 27 MIN | 5-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 16 PTS | +9
With several MONSTER three-pointers in the fourth quarter, Budinger made his weekly cameo count tonight.
Three Things We Saw
- This was one of the season’s most exciting games. Both teams spent their night running a secondary fast break with defense clearly taking a back seat. The Nuggets shot 22 three-pointers and made just 3 of them, but Houston shouldn’t be patting themselves on the back. The Nuggets also began the second half 0-10 from the floor. Shots simply weren’t falling.
- Despite lacking Nene, Afflalo, and 50% of Gallo (he turned his ankle and didn’t return), the Nuggets were neck and neck with the Rockets until a late run helped Houston pull away. Not sure there’s too much to read from the victory besides McHale choosing to go with Budinger, Lee, Lowry, and Scola/Patterson down the stretch, on the road. That says a lot.
- Even when he’s in a slump, Kyle Lowry’s range forces defenses to guard him 27 feet from the basket. The importance of this can’t be said enough. Late in the game, Koufos felt the need to reach in and pressure Lowry nearly 30 feet away from the hoop. The result was a foul (Koufos’ sixth).