Recap: Houston Rockets 124, Utah Jazz 116

So the Jazz were in town and Houston were looking to avenge the drubbing they received at the end of their long road trip a couple of weeks back. Though there have been issues on the road, four straight wins at home and an opponent on the second night of a back-to-back meant that there were plenty of reasons to be optimistic for tonight’s game. Parsons and Delfino return to uniforms, drastically altering the team’s landscape at the wing for the better.

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Preview: Utah Jazz @ Houston Rockets

The back and forth Rockets host a rematch against the visiting Utah Jazz on Saturday, hoping to not only get payback for one of their worst blowouts on the season, but to climb to .500 yet again. The Rockets have been beaten soundly three games so far, but none so early and unexpectedly as the blowout they suffered in Utah on November 19th.

After being dismantled in a perfect storm against the Thunder, the Rockets will be ready and willing to bounce back against the Jazz, one of their primary competitors for a playoff spot in a brutal Western Conference. The Jazz are almost the flip side of the Rockets coin, and Houston badly needs to find purchase Saturday if they intend to come out of December with a winning record. Unfortunately, that is likely to be a difficult battle against a team who has been a difficult matchup for the last few seasons.

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Recap: OKC Thunder 120, Houston Rockets 98

The Rockets have plenty of reasons for getting blown out by the Thunder. Unfortunately, none of that changes the fact that they’ve fallen below .500 once more and have a 1-7 record against the west. They managed to come within striking distance a couple times, but the better team won, and it wasn’t close.

The big narrative of the night, James Harden’s revenge against his old team, took a turn that was probably unexpected by most. The pessimists in the Rockets fanbase, however, won’t be surprised to hear that Harden’s ex-teammates were ready for him, blocking a mind-blowing 7 of his shots on the evening. Ibaka and Westbrook began the block party early, and Harden didn’t knock down a field goal until the third quarter. James put together a miserable 3-16 line by the end of the game, but somehow still managed to have more points (17) than shots. He had what will hopefully be his worst line all year. Or at least until the Thunder come into town in December.

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My apologies for the poor audio at the start – Lowry’s voice was barely audible.  His demeanor wasn’t anything too unordinary – he was always prickly with media and especially affected by tough losses.  This wasn’t just because it was his former team.

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Chandler Parsons, Breakout Candidate?

Friday night’s game was undoubtedly the best of Chandler Parsons’ young career. The previously unheralded second-round pick of last year’s draft impressed himself on the Knicks’ (and indeed, the league’s) conscience with a phenomenal performance: 31 points on 13-17 shooting, 4 three’s, 5 boards, 4 assists, and 4 steals. Some might consider this a coming-out party, part of a broader second-year improvement and a sign of his future potential. The reality, however, is that Parsons was already a very solid player as a rookie, and has built upon that foundation to become an improved (although not drastically improved) player this season.

According to Basketball-Reference, Parsons’ per 36 minute statistics have shown a slight improvement compared with last season—he’s averaging 3 more points, 1 more rebound, and one more assist every 36 minutes. Despite these seemingly minor upticks, Parsons’ PER has increased by a full three points from 13 last season to an above-average 16, equivalent to the difference between the performances of Jeff Teague and Michael Beasley last season.

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