Tonight, the Rockets toughed out a second quarter run from a perennial playoff team and held on to win by double digits. Despite exceeding the Celtics’ turnovers by 5 (17 vs 12), and extracting lackluster performances from Lin and Patterson, the Rockets played some of their best defense of the season to date and pulled back to .500 yet again.

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in game coverage

The Jeremy Lin Situation

Monday night’s loss at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs bore the most significant results of the season.  The team didn’t earn a victory, but observers came away with proof of something far more valuable.

In scoring 38 points in his first outing without James Harden, Lin put to rest any doubts regarding his overall ability.  It just simply is not possible that that performance (against the league’s best team) and last year’s Linsanity stretch were flukes.  It just cannot be.  One cannot achieve such heights in such a manner, in that many instances, by mere luck or random chance.  These games are indisputably probative of actual ability.  Jeremy Lin is not elite, but he can be a very good, game-changing player in this league.

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in game coverage

Examining the Rockets’ Defense

Nearly a quarter into the NBA season, the Rockets stand at 9-11, two games behind 0.500. As a team, Houston ranks 10th in offensive efficiency, scoring a robust 103 points per 100 possessions but ranks sixth worst in defensive efficiency, giving up nearly 104 points per 100 possessions. As these two stats imply, Houston has a negative scoring margin this season of almost one point per game. Extrapolated over a season, this translates to a 39-win team per the Pythagorean wins formula. A 39-43 record is almost certainly not good enough to make the playoffs in a Western conference that, outside of the 5 playoff locks (both LA teams, Memphis, San Antonio, and OKC), boasts a bevy of mid-tier playoff hopefuls in Denver, Minnesota, Utah, Golden State, and Dallas.

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in essays

Tonight, a Houston team missing key players went up against a wily, clever team that has been contending since seemingly forever and proceeded to get utterly blown out in the process.  And the Rockets also played basketball.

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in game coverage

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