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Houston Rockets 106, Brooklyn Nets 96 – Rockets Put Their Heads Down and Power Through

A depleted Houston Rockets team entered Brooklyn needing a win against a Nets team missing a star in Joe Johnson (heel), who missed his first game of the season. After the tough loss the Rockets handed the Nets in their last meeting (119-106), Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and the Nets had no intention of rolling over. Both teams scrapped for the win, and while it wasn’t the prettiest game of the season, the Rockets were able to survive going scoreless for four minutes and pick up their second win in a row.

A mere two days ago, Houston lost four rotation players in Patrick Patterson, Marcus Morris, Toney Douglas and Cole Aldrich. Teammates, coaches, and staff, despite wishing them the best of luck in their new situations, also have to welcome in new players and figure out how to make a new rotation work. None of the new Rockets, Thomas Robinson, Francisco Garcia and Tyler Honeycutt, played in Brooklyn. It has yet to be seen how soon they will be cleared to play, much less when they’ll find minutes in the new rotation. Once again, head coach Kevin McHale’s decision was to roll out a lineup with Carlos Delfino taking Patterson’s place.

Unlike in the unlikely win over the Thunder, only one Rockets player took the floor for for that 40 minutes: James Harden. While that may bode ill for his levels of fatigue the following day in Washington D.C., every minute of Harden was crucial down the stretch. After pushing the Houston lead to 15 early in the 4th quarter, the Rockets gave up a 17-5 run, including nearly 4 minutes without a single point scored. Without Johnson, and a sore ankle from Deron Williams, the Nets relied on Brook Lopez and C.J. Watson to lead the team in scoring. When the momentum had switched in Brooklyn’s favor, James Harden broke the seal by converting a layup and one.

Harden scored 22 points on 7-14 shooting, hit 4-5 threes and grabbed 5 rebounds, and this wasn’t a very good outing for him. Harden was visibly frustrated much of the evening, driving the lane and not coming out with fouls. The referees were reluctant to call contact on the inside either way most of the evening, and this served to irritate the Rockets all night. The Nets didn’t seem much happier with the calls, and both teams had to work through frustration. This came to a head when Keith Bogans confronted Harden after a foul, earning the two players a double technical. In the end, the Rockets were able to stabilize and come out with the win.

Carlos Delfino made the most of his time in the sun, tying James Harden’s team-high in points and trying for a few more, including a spin move in the fourth that looked good but resulted in a miss. Delfino racked up 22 points and hit 6 of his 9 threes, each of which was critical to Houston’s effort. Delfino sometimes struggles from behind the arc, but he, like the entire team, was deadly accurate tonight.

The Rockets his 16-30 from deep, which is a ridiculously high 53%. Three point shooting is obviously a priority for the team, as well as a priority in practices. While that kind of shooting is nearly impossible to sustain, the team has gradually improved their three point shooting all year and look more comfortable at it as the season progresses. James Anderson and Jeremy Lin were the only Rockets to shoot less than 50% from three.

On a night when two teams combined for 29 turnovers and scrambles for rebounds and loose balls abounded, quite a few players put up mediocre outings. Lin, Anderson and Parsons combined for 24 points on 23 shots, including 8 turnovers between Lin and Parsons. Parsons was playing through a sore ankle, but he simply didn’t look as good as normal. Lin showed a high degree of confidence and aggression, and was able to hit open jumpers. Unfortunately, most of his forays inside were less successful. James Anderson played limited minutes and looks liable to lose some of those when Garcia is cleared to play and taught the system.

Two players who have spent time in the D-League this year, Greg Smith and Donatas Motiejunas, came out swinging and looked good against the Nets. Smith was a perfect 5-5 from the field in 16 minutes and grabbed 4 rebounds. Smith repeatedly found his way behind the Nets’ defense, using backdoor cuts as opportunities to create dunks. Motiejunas shot 4-5, including a very nice post move leading to a bucket. If he shows an ability to score and learn in the post, McHale should be all too happy to let him do so. His defense could use some work, but his willingness to run (including finishing up on a very pretty pass from Lin in transition) and ability down low should fit right in.

Asik recorded a double double again (10 and 11), which is amazingly just alright for him. His defense of Lopez was solid, but Lopez was too much for Asik to handle, scoring a game-high 27 points. Patrick Beverley rounded out the Rockets players, playing capably in his role, and shooting better then he has (8 points on 3-5 shooting, 4 of which were three point attempts).

The Rockets may have lost some defense for the time being, but given that the team defense was already nonexistent, the main effect seems to be longer minutes for the starters. The sky hasn’t fallen on this young team trying to make the playoffs while trading away a quarter of its rotation, and that’s the most important thing at this second. Things have been tough, but they’ve been able to be tough right back.

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  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago

    Sir Thursday, on 23 February 2013 - 02:10 AM said:


    McHale's gone with some really interesting cross-matching tonight. He's Parsons on Williams, Lin on Watson, Harden on Wallace and Delfino on Evans. I can understand the rationale because Lin has really struggled with Wililams in the past, and for the most part Williams has been kept pretty quiet. Delfino has really been struggling to keep Evans off the offensive glass, but I guess that's the price you pay for going small. Wallace really hasn't been able to exploit his size advantage on Harden, so it's worked out OK up until now (mid-way through the 3rd).

    ST


    All in all, I like the rocket's defense tonight. There were gaps, and lapses, and flat out misses, but they played hard and seemed to have a plan. They truly did not respect Wallace's jumper and rightfully so. Lopez did Lopez things. Honestly, we held them to 96 (well below our average) and if we hadn't gone through a 5 minute drought mid-way through the fourth this game would not have been close at all. Most of the fourth quarter miscues were due to youth, in my opinion. Those things will disappear in time.

    Lin looked stellar in the first half--he also went playground a few times in breaking down the Nets' D. Harden was cool and efficient. Delfino seems to like the new arrangement as well. If he stays hot for a while the Rox will be tough to beat. Nice game.

    Oh, and everyone struggles to keep Evans off the offensive glass. I was surprised tonight to see him so assertive on offense..usually he just gives it up to D-Will after a rebound...apparently he should get back to that as he was mostly ineffective. Play to your strengths, Reggie!
  • Red94 says 1 YEAR ago New post: Houston Rockets 106, Brooklyn Nets 96 - Rockets Put Their Heads Down and Power Through
  • Sir Thursday says 1 YEAR ago McHale's gone with some really interesting cross-matching tonight. He's Parsons on Williams, Lin on Watson, Harden on Wallace and Delfino on Evans. I can understand the rationale because Lin has really struggled with Wililams in the past, and for the most part Williams has been kept pretty quiet. Delfino has really been struggling to keep Evans off the offensive glass, but I guess that's the price you pay for going small. Wallace really hasn't been able to exploit his size advantage on Harden, so it's worked out OK up until now (mid-way through the 3rd).

    ST
  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago I hadn't really thought about that...Royce is a little preach-y....that could be disastrous. :o
  • timetodienow1234567 says 1 YEAR ago I don't know if Royce White is a cancer. I think he's too crazy to be an undue influence on a team. Unless he starts trying to convince everybody on the team that they have mental issues.
  • bboley24 says 1 YEAR ago I was trying to downplay those trades for a reason DUH! :P

    Well that stinks... still like to see what our young guys can do in our rotation. Too bad we couldn't have gotten rid of that cancer in RGV.
  • Dan G says 1 YEAR ago Well according to Jonathan Feigen, it looks like we will not get to see any of our new acquisitions in action tonight due to late physicals for Patterson, Douglas and Aldrich on the Kings' side.

    http://blog.chron.co...lay/#more-15279

    Quote:

    With the Rockets waiting for the players dealt to Sacramento – Patrick Patterson, Toney Douglas and Cole Aldrich – to complete their physicals, the players they got back in the deal were not cleared to attend shootaround with the team Friday at Barclays Center. Thomas Robinson, Tyler Honeycutt and Francisco Garcia each arrived in Houston on Thursday and completed their physicals in time to catch a late flight to New York. With the time difference, the physical in Sacramento on Friday had not even started before the Rockets’ shootaround.

    Without the benefit of a shootaround, Kevin McHale said he was unlikely to play them against the Nets.
  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago BBoley, lots of stuff there. First, I am surprised that you rate Asik's acquisition above Harden's and that both are beneath Aldrich. Aldrich was part of the harden deal and had an expring contract. I would reverse your ratings.... :)

    I think D-MO is still adjusting to the speed of the NBA game....he'll find the rhythm....he has a shooter's touch. I was talking with my buddy who likes sports, but doesn't study the minutia the way I do and explaining a shooter's touch....Dwight Howard was my example of someone who has none. D-mo, in my opinion does, and I am convinced he may end up being a scoring machine once it clicks for him....He will get stronger...Garnett and Durant had similar problems early on....to name a couple.

    I don't think I've read any of these T-Jones comments....not sure about that.

    Otherwise, I share your excitement and look forward to seeing the young guys perform....I was a fan of both Patterson and Morris, but I recognize we should ultimately be better moving forward. I hope they both do well....except when they play us. :D
  • bboley24 says 1 YEAR ago I am so excited to see what new lineups we are going to throw out there. It seems like DMO forces his shots when hes out there because he doesn't get much PT. Now that he will be in the rotation, how will he react?

    I HOPE DMO WILL STOP BEING SLUNG AROUND LIKE A RAG DOLL DOWNLOW.

    Greg Smith is my wifey's favorite player so I hope he gets some more PT.

    TJones... never impressed me.

    Garcia I can already tell will tick me off. Taking any PT from parsons and delfino is blasphemous in my eyes.

    NO MORE ALDRICH! YESSSSSS!!!!! My favorite move of the season. Harden was a nice move... Asik was great... but getting rid of Aldrich. A++++

    Trob... (Totally just made that up) is a wild card. I don't want to get too up with him just yet. I feel like most of the people out here talk Tjones up like he's the next Tim Duncan.
  • timetodienow1234567 says 1 YEAR ago Yeah, I'd be very disappointed if the Rockets lose this game. I expect us to drop 70 by halftime and get d-mo some playing time in the second half.
  • LMAOwais says 1 YEAR ago Joe Johnson out with plantar fasciitis. Very winnable, good time for us to put a streak together.

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