The Rockets continue to blast opponents, beating the Bulls and the NBA’s 4th best defense in a blowout that featured a 35 point lead in the third quarter. Nate Robinson may have been able to unload 27 points in 27 minutes, but it was too little, too late. The Rockets did to the Bulls the same thing they’d done to the Grizzlies.
Everyone looked great, and except for a nasty stretch in the third when the lead shrank to 17, the team continued its remarkable progression. Houston needed a blowout win to be able to sit their starters and rest up for their game against the Timberwolves tomorrow in Minnesota. Harden continued to slice apart the paint and draw fouls at a breakneck pace. Lin kept improving, and in fact looks ever closer to the player he was last February.
In brief, every Rockets starter except Morris scored at least 20. Asik had 18 rebounds and 3 blocks. The team shot 56%, and kept the Bulls to a respectable but not great 44.6%. Not only is their running doing the trick to stymie tough defenses, but their own defense seems to be improving as well. Apart from Robinson, only Marco Bellinelli and Luol Deng cracked double digits for the Bulls, a scenario that won’t see them win many games.
The Rockets rammed the ball down the throat of the offense, leading to a flurry of layups and dunks, including a beautiful no-look pass from Lin to Douglas. They also kept their turnovers down again (10), and managed a respectable 8 steals. At times it looked closer to, 80; the Rockets nearly shut down the Bulls in the middle of the game.
46 points. 15-25 shooting. 6 rebounds. 17 assists. The backcourt duo of Lin and Harden, “Beardsanity,” is starting to look like the hurricane of effectiveness and efficiency Houston fans and Daryl Morey hoped for. Only two weeks after a myriad of questions about their ability to play together, Beardsanity is setting up shop.
The Rockets have now won 6 of their last 7 games, and won the last 4 by a margin of over 20 points per game. This team is dangerously close to looking like a legitimately good team, and won’t be able to fly under the radar much longer. They can’t keep destroying every opponent, but perhaps they can keep learning and improving. Then we’ll see what happens in April.