This is a game that many fans in New York will have had circled for a long time. For the only time this year, Linsanity will return to the arena in which it exploded onto the global stage. While the teams have met once this year already, there is no doubt that Madison Square Garden will be a louder and more electric atmosphere than the Toyota Center was. And all the eyes, all the media attention will be focused on Jeremy Lin.
The last time your Houston Rockets won in Toronto, it was 2007. Rafer Alston had one of his rare good games and put up 23 points on 9-14 shooting, Kirk Snyder and John Lucas played decent minutes, and even Vassilis Spanoulis got on the court for 51 seconds. Since then, playing in Toronto has not been a place to just lose, but a place to lose miserably and without even the slightest shred of good feelings. In January 2009, Tracy McGrady submitted what has simply been known afterwards as the Toronto game, where he basically quit on Houston and completely changed the direction and relationship between himself and the franchise. Next December, Trevor Ariza in his frustration swung an elbow at a rookie Demar Derozan’s back in what was a classless move. Tonight, in fact, was arguably our best loss yet as it marks the first time that the Rockets did not lose by double digits since that 2007 win.
Also via Feigen, Marcus Morris becomes the likely starter while rookie Terrence Jones will be recalled from the D-League.
A few thoughts:
Regardless of your opinion on Patterson–and he’s a fairly polarizing figure given his rebounding inadequacies–any time you lose a starter, it’s a pretty big loss. That effect is compounded by the fact that he’s a ‘big’ and that this is the youngest roster in all of basketball. ‘Bigs’ have more responsibility (defensively) than other players and young teams inherently struggle with defensive cohesion.
I’m no doctor, but these recurring injuries to Patterson are becoming slightly concerning.
The silver lining is that Terrence Jones will get his shot. I predict he’ll explode and never look back. I’m basing this on the fact that the Rockets have had a breakout rookie in (seemingly) every year of Daryl Morey’s tenure with the team.
I do not think this injury holds any consequence in potential trades. Teams know what Patterson is: a relatively dependable ‘big’ with limited upside. He probably had little trade value to begin with; this development does nothing to diminish that.
McHale of course was Garnett’s mentor upon the latter’s entrance into the league. Friday night, the two legendary forwards shared an emotional embrace in what is still the fresh aftermath of the tragic death of McHale’s daughter, on a day marred by tragedy for all.