11) Omri Casspi: Casspi logged about 15 minutes against the Cleveland Cavaliers last Saturday, and had five more turnovers than points. Related: he had five turnovers. Last night he had five more points than turnovers. Related: he had five points. What does this mean? Nothing. But I enjoyed typing it.
10) Isaiah Canaan: Well, would you look at that! After Patrick Beverley sprained his knee during the second quarter of last night’s game, Isaiah Canaan did some real stuff non-garbage time minutes! Houston extended their lead from about three to double digits at half time, and Canaan’s tenacious play on both ends was partly responsible. He knocked down a contested three-pointer, took a steal the other way for a dunk (that almost didn’t go in), and generally looked like a player who belongs. Fun, fun, fun.
9) Jordan Hamilton: Hamilton barely averaged 11 minutes per game this week, and he shot 25% from the field. Not great.
8) Donatas Motiejunas: Motiejunas moves the ball like a hurried FedEx carrier delivering a package. He keeps Houston’s offense flowing when you pass it to him, which is good. Look:
7) Jeremy Lin: Nice and clean week from Jeremy Lin. Nothing crazy happened, and he put up solid 12, 4, and 4 averages. The shooting percentages weren’t the greatest, but Lin’s continues to take uncontested long twos instead of forced, contested threes, and it’s a smart decision.
6) Patrick Beverley: Before spraining his knee during the second quarter of last night’s demolition of the 76ers, Patrick Beverley had a solid week. Houston’s offense performed like a nuclear powered juggernaut with him on the court, but his outside shot cooled off a bit.
5) Omer Asik: Houston’s offense isn’t good with Omer Asik on the court. This week they averaged a pedestrian 102.7 points per 100 possessions in his 70 minutes. But on the other end? Oh boy. Good. Yes.
Here’s a clip that personifies the little things Asik does on your typical possession. Watch him slide all over the place and snuff out Charlotte’s first two methods of attack.
4) Dwight Howard: Howard looked great in his two games back after sitting a few out with that injured ankle. Last night, he swatted the crap out of Thaddeus Young early on, and I’m pretty sure tears were trickling down Henry Sims’s face midway through the second quarter. Howard ran the floor and soared high above the rim to catch lobs and what not. The competition wasn’t great, but he looked healthy destroying it.
3) Terrence Jones: During last night’s broadcast, Clyde Drexler waxed on and on about Terrence Jones’s All-Star potential. Matt Bullard took it a step further by comparing Jones to Thaddeus Young, and suggesting Houston might have the more majestic stallion today. Everyone. Let’s all take a deep breath, clear our minds, and put all the joyous things Jones does on a basketball court in the proper context. A more fair question might be “could Jones ever have Young’s well-rounded “we need two points, so throw him the ball” skill-set?” When a 21-year-old manufactures consistent production with mind-numbing athleticism, people tend to lose their minds. Jones plays in literally the most compatible environment available. He gets to play beside Dwight Howard, in a super fast offense run by guards who can pass it after sucking in the defensive help. His teammates draw a lot of attention on that end. Fit matters for 99% of the league’s players. Jones was extremely fortunate to land in the situation he did.
That doesn’t make watching him play basketball any less fun, though. On one possession, Jones grabbed a defensive rebound then took off like a windup car. With a live dribble he went behind the back to blow by Michael Carter Williams, then slaughtered Henry Sims with a nasty Euro-step before laying it in with his off hand. It was…incredible. A few minutes later he threw a gorgeous cross-court bounce pass to Lin in transition.
2) Chandler Parsons: Parsons’s week somehow felt quiet for a guy who shot 40% from the three-point line on five attempts per game, and put up averages of 14.3 points, 5.7 assists, and 4.3 rebounds in three outings. His minutes were about on average, too. He barely did anything during the first half against Charlotte, and it’s no surprise Houston struggled to do much of anything offensively because of it.
1) James Harden: Much was written about Harden yesterday, so go check that out if you’d like. He’s on top of the world right now, firing on all cylinders and scoring from wherever he wants, whenever he wants. Putting all biases aside, do you think he deserves a 1st team All-NBA nod?