A common cliche among announcers today is to give a seriously quick point guard the divine “one man fast break” label. Yes, there are situations where one man does in fact steamroll a defense by going coast to coast—from defensive rebound to dunk—but it’s rare. By mixing crafty flair with not so subtle determination, Goran Dragic has elevated his transition game to the point where adjectives like “elite” shouldn’t be laughed at. Read More
|Luis Scola, PF 25 MIN | 2-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | -1 The glaring statistic? Five turnovers. Scola forced it too hard and too often, fumbling the ball whenever he took it inside. He also failed to crack double digits. Worst of all, he allowed Duncan to bring the Spurs back in the third quarter.|
|Chandler Parsons, F 16 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 3 PTS | +9 Parsons was bipolar tonight. He missed on a couple of transition threes early in the shot clock during the first quarter, then reverted to a hesitant nature the rest of the game. No putback dunks to boot either.|
|Samuel Dalembert, C 25 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | -5 Here’s how intimidating Dalembert is: Gary Neal already had a layup gift-wrapped and he still elected to kick it out to Duncan. However, foul trouble limited his effectiveness.|
|Kevin Martin, SG 36 MIN | 10-21 FG | 3-3 FT | 9 REB | 4 AST | 29 PTS | -5 Martin ushered in his 29th birthday with 21 points in the first half. Most of his shots came from downtown and all Kawhi Leonard could do was watch. Martin gets high marks for his all-around effort across the board.|
|Kyle Lowry, PG 35 MIN | 5-12 FG | 4-6 FT | 2 REB | 7 AST | 15 PTS | -7 Parker ran rings around Lowry like it was the latter’s rookie season all over again. Lowry had a respectable second half but the damage had already been done.|
|Courtney Lee, SG 32 MIN | 7-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 15 PTS | -17 With Martin getting his breather, Lee went berserk in the second quarter, freeing himself up for open looks and knocking them down with confidence. Lee has been the steady force for the Rockets when their other bench players have been up and down.|
|Goran Dragic, PG 16 MIN | 2-4 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 5 PTS | -5 Rough night for Dragic. He threw up an airball, got poked in the face, but managed to initiate the transition for a couple of plays.|
|Chase Budinger, SF 9 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | +1 Nine minutes of insignificance.|
|Jordan Hill, C 23 MIN | 2-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 10 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | -3 Hill crashed the glass and gave the Rockets a lot of second looks at the basket.|
|Patrick Patterson, PF 23 MIN | 5-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 10 PTS | -7 Kevin McHale trusted Patterson down the stretch and the gamble almost paid off. He knocked down several jumpers but left Bonner for the three that sealed the outcome.|
Three Things We Saw
- Martin and Lee were unguardable, converting on successive looks that broke the game wide open early. Unfortunately, Martin had a crucial miss and Lee committed a costly charging call against him in the last two minutes that did the Rockets in.
- For a huge chunk of the first half, the only Spur who could buy a basket was Tony Parker. The Rockets sealed the lane tightly, only allowing the Spurs 39 points after 24 minutes. However, they gave up 60 after halftime.
- The Rockets sleepwalked through the third quarter. There is no other way to explain how Duncan has 25 points by the end of the third quarter.
Join us in discussing these scintillating topics.
The gist: The Rockets welcome a tough February with their fourth tussle with the Spurs against whom they are 2-1 in the season series. San Antonio is coming off an 83-73 win against Memphis while the Rockets fell in Rick Adelman’s return to Toyota Center, 120-108.
Key matchup: Kevin Martin vs Kawhi Leonard
The Rockets need to chase all the Spurs’ swingmen, as evidenced by Michael Beasley’s 34-point attack last night (which included 12 trips to the charity stripe.) Martin will be expected to outperform Leonard scoring-wise but he cannot afford to be a slouch defensively.
X-factor: Courtney Lee
Danny Green has strung together a couple of games off the bench as a spark plug, posting 11.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 3.5 steals. Lee will be expected to close out on Green from outside and Leonard from doing his damage from midrange.
Code Red: The Spurs (13-9) continue to stay dominant at home, having only lost once at AT&T Center the entire season. Ginobili remains out and will continue to be so until sometime next month. T.J. Ford will also be a no-show tonight. It must be reiterated: the Rockets cannot give up 42 points in a quarter.