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Rapid Reaction: Rockets 107, Timberwolves 92

Kevin Love

Our grades from tonight’s win.

Houston Rockets 107 Final
Recap | Box Score
92 Minnesota Timberwolves
Luis Scola, PF 28 MIN | 7-12 FG | 1-1 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 15 PTS | -3Early on, Scola seemed intent on entertaining the masses with one on one battles against Kevin Love. Unfortunately for the solid Scola, right now Love (39 points, 12 rebounds) is out of his league.
Chandler Parsons, F 34 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 4 AST | 5 PTS | +18Every time Parsons plays, a new wrinkle of unexpected brilliance is revealed. Tonight we learned Parsons is VERY good at slicing the paint’s forestry with no-look bounce passes.
Samuel Dalembert, C 25 MIN | 1-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 15 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | +3Before the game, I tweeted—for reasons unexplainable to you and me both—that Dalembert would finish with more rebounds than Love. He did. That’s cool.
Kevin Martin, SG 35 MIN | 10-21 FG | 7-8 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 31 PTS | +4Kevin Martin was just awesome from the get go. You know how people say he’s a quiet player? How he scores points in a mundane tone with no excitement or flair? To that I say Kevin Martin’s jab step might be the best in basketball. It’s intrusive yet subtle, and whenever it went on display tonight, good things happened. Good and loud.
Kyle Lowry, PG 43 MIN | 4-13 FG | 7-8 FT | 10 REB | 10 AST | 16 PTS | +16TRIPLE DOUBLE! YAY! Lowry has been scratching the surface of grabbing one of these this entire season. Tonight, he finally, if barely, got it.
Courtney Lee, SG 27 MIN | 4-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 9 PTS | +16Lee’s defense is something to keep an eye on. He guarded Wayne Ellington quite a bit tonight, holding the former Tarheel to 2-11 shooting and 4 points.
Goran Dragic, PG 23 MIN | 5-7 FG | 4-5 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 14 PTS | +12Watching this man play basketball is a marvelous experience. I love Goran Dragic.
Patrick Patterson, PF 18 MIN | 6-10 FG | 1-4 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 13 PTS | +14The sky is blue, ice is cold, and the Houston Rockets are a much better basketball team when Patrick Patterson doesn’t pick up 3 fouls in 1:29.

Four Things We Saw

  1. With tonight’s victory, the Rockets have as many wins as the Lakers and the Mavericks. If the season ended today, they’d have a spot in the playoffs. The way they’re playing now, with solid rotations and growing familiarity, expect them to be there by season’s end.
  2. A quick pessimistic word on the defense: There were several blatant miscommunications in the early going—both allowing Kevin Love to sashay unimpeded to the rim. Dalembert and Scola in particular just didn’t seem to be on the same page several times.
  3. A quick optimistic word on the offense: The Rockets pick and choose when they want to run a secondary break, and the results are almost always positive. They don’t throw lengthy passes unless there lies certainty that the ball will safely land in a teammate’s hand. Not only in his hand, actually, but in his hand with an opportunity to make a play.
  4. Before today, Kevin Love had 8 dunks this season, according to CBS Sports’ NBA Dunk-O-Meter. By my count, he dropped at least 3 against the Rockets tonight. The guy is going to get buckets, but make them difficult ones. He should not be dunking the ball.

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