|Luis Scola, PF 23 MIN | 6-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 12 PTS | +2Scola scored all of his points in the first half, going 6-8 (0-5 the rest of the way) and looking for his shot early despite three turnovers in the first 7 minutes. Hopefully, tonight’s success will boost his confidence in the next few weeks as the team’s schedule gets tougher.|
|Samuel Dalembert, C 22 MIN | 3-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 14 REB | 0 AST | 7 PTS | +8The Bear(!) continues to maul Rockets’ opponents inside. Tonight, he pulled down 14 boards and blocked 4 shots in 22 minutes.|
|Kyle Lowry, PG 27 MIN | 1-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 3 PTS | +3Over the last four games, Kyle Lowry has shot 8 for 42 from the floor, a miserable slump that saw Dragic running the offense for good portions of the game tonight. As Lowry increasing looked to pass all night, the rest of the team somehow didn’t seem to ready for the crisp passes he sent their way.|
|Courtney Lee, SG 30 MIN | 6-12 FG | 1-1 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 14 PTS | +10With the starters struggling, Courtney Lee and the Rockets’ bench stepped up and firmly placed their heels on the Knicks’ throats. Lee’s 9 point 3rd quarter helped build Houston’s 14 point lead heading to the 4th quarter.|
|Goran Dragic, PG 27 MIN | 6-8 FG | 3-4 FT | 0 REB | 5 AST | 16 PTS | +23Dragic again pushed the ball and took any open (or not open) shot available. Hat’s off to Daryl Morey for another very useful pick-up.|
|Chase Budinger, SF 24 MIN | 7-12 FG | 3-3 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 19 PTS | +23Can we ask McHale to bench Budinger every third game for the rest of the season? at this rate, Chase will soon retrieve his starting job from his Syracuse counterpart.|
Three Things We Saw
- Well, that’s 9 out of the last 10. It’ a good thing the Rockets keep playing all these terrible teams (make no mistake, the Knicks have been a miserable thus far). With Martin hurt and Lowry missing, the bench won this game for Houston scoring 43 points on 22 shots through the first three quarters.
- How bad is the Knicks point guard situation? New York played Jeremy Lin for a good chunk of the second half. As much as I love Lin’s story and genuinely wish him success in the league, he’s not a starting (or really even a back-up) point guard for any team hoping to make the playoffs.
- Dalembert sitting early for fouls really exposed how much the Rockets depend on the huge Haitian. He only played 8 minutes in the first half, and his absence saw Tyson Chandler and Amare Stoudemire combine for 24 points and the Knicks snag 9 offensive rebounds to the Rockets 2.
The gist: The Knicks came up short in South Beach, falling 99-89 to the Heat despite Bill Walker’s 21-point performance. Despite playing minus Kevin Martin with plantar fasciitis in his right foot, the Rockets ran away with a 103-76 victory over a hapless Wizards squad that imploded in the second half, thanks to a breakout game from Chase Budinger.
Key matchup: Samuel Dalembert vs Tyson Chandler
These two prized big men hauled over the offseason will strut their defensive wares. It will be a rebounding battle to keep an eye on and both teams will have difficulty operating in the paint with these two giants muscling and boxing out every possible possession.
- Rockets fans, I tire of your continued attacks upon tanking. In Houston, there has been a long, glorious history of losing for the future, one that has brought Houston to basically every height it’s ever reached. Victory over Lakers in Game 6 of Western Conference Finals off of Ralph Sampson’s fingertips? Tanked our way to that giant. Two back-to-back championships on the back of our devout Muslim superhero with the footwork of Kevin McHale and Micahel Jackson’s lovechild? You guessed it, tanked our way to that guy. Long after the lottery was put in place (basically because the Rockets had lost their way to consecutive number one picks), arguably the Rockets’ best player after Dream, Yao Ming, was also collected through a miserable season. When attacking tanking, we Rockets followers gnaw upon the very hands that fed us for so long. I, for one, am a vegetarian, so I gladly welcome the tank that seems so unlikely to come at this point. [read more...]