|Luis Scola, PF 38 MIN | 9-21 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 20 PTS | -8At the end of the night, his stat line will look respectable, but Scola had a pretty precipitous fall after a 7-10 first quarter where the Argentinian scored 14 points, shooting a combined 2-11 after that first period (obvious for those who know how to subtract, I know, but glaring enough to point out). Scola’s had a recent trend of coming up short in second halves.|
|Chandler Parsons, F 33 MIN | 4-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 4 AST | 8 PTS | -4Basically anything coming out of this position at this point for Houston is gravy, and so goes Parsons’ career as of yet. With low expectations, his epic putback slams and somewhat capable wing defense (against a team with no capable wings) have come as a mildly pleasant surprise in a season full of groan-worthy inevitabilities.|
|Kevin Martin, SG 44 MIN | 7-15 FG | 4-4 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 18 PTS | -8Kevin Martin without a three-point shot can be reasonably compared to T-Pain without Autotune: even the few of us paying attention in the first place want no parts of it. Martin’s line might not look that bad, but the difference in impact between last year’s Martin and this one feels infinite.|
|Kyle Lowry, PG 44 MIN | 8-19 FG | 3-4 FT | 6 REB | 7 AST | 22 PTS | -7Lowry, like Scola, had a better night on the stat page than he did on the court, basically ceding ground to a dominant Tony Parker at every turn, but as the only Rocket to drain a three in a game in which Houston went an anemic 3-21 from behind the line, Lowry essentially did his part keeping Houston in a game in which, after an exceptional first quarter, it had no business being.|
|Jordan Hill, C 18 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | +1Did very little, but after last night’s 12 rebounds and five blocks and some timely rebounds tonight, Hill deserves a pat on the back. Or a trip to the D-League. Whichever.|
Five Things We Saw
- Wooo. Rockets fans got to see a close game, which is great, even if it resulted in yet another road loss, the team’s sixth of the year, which is miserable. Overtime was sort of miserable offensively (first points were scored by Duncan at the 2:41 mark on a free throw, after he had just missed three consecutive ones at the charity stripe), but it’s always nice to see some meaningful basketball, even when the faithful Rockets red have to walk away sighing.
- For the first time against a team in what seems like ages, the Houston Rockets started a game off well Wednesday night, dropping in 27 in the first quarter to lead the Spurs by four. Houston shot 65% in that first quarter, including Scola’s aforementioned 14 points on 7-10 shooting.
- As great as that 13-20 first quarter shooting was, those 27 points were emblematic of the Rockets’ biggest flaw on offense in this era of Houston basketball: these guys just shoot jumpers. Though a couple of Scola’s buckets came off of layups, almost every made field goal in that first quarter came from outside of the paint, thereby exemplifying the exact reasons for the fickleness of the Rockets’ offense. Sometimes those jumpers will fall, and sometimes they won’t; regardless, the current Rockets will have to keep taking them without a legitimate post presence or elite pick-and-roll player.
- That Tony Parker, eh? While San Antonio grasps at straws for some play-making in the wake of Manu Ginobili’s purportedly season-killing injury, Parker came through with 24 points and seven assists against one of the league’s best point guard defenders in Lowry, who had consistent trouble staying in front of Parker and fighting through screens, leaving his big men on an island with the Frenchman. You can guess how most of those ended.
- Yikes. This Rockets’ center rotation really looks to be about the worst in the NBA, producing a whole lot of not much against a couple of productive bigs in living legend Tim Duncan and adequate Brazilian backup Tiago Splitter. Hill got in some decent minutes, but no Rockets big could contain Duncan in crunch time. Can’t imagine this problem will get much better against big combos in Portland, Los Angeles and Memphis out here in the West.