Both teams played well tonight–especially offensively. Rockets moved the ball very well, tonight–as well as they have all season. That’s how they shot 55.4% from the field and 50% from 3-point. It’s a great sign to see that they’re continuing to move the ball well, with the exception of the OKC game, which I basically didn’t count. The OKC game was what it was, considering the circumstances. It was as expected, so I’m not too worried about it. Just glad to see them bounce back and continue to improve.
The Rockets played nine players tonight and all but two players (Douglas had 8 points and Morris had zero points) were in double figures in scoring. Four players–all but one starter–scored around 20 (Patterson, 20; Lin, 19; Parsons, 19; Harden 18). I don’t think I’ve ever seen this type of distribution. It was a fun game to watch and a great win for the Rockets. Rockets really needed this win, since the Jazz embarrassed them in Utah and they needed a bounce back game from OKC. Harden had a bit of a slow start. I wonder if the OKC game is messing with him a little. We’ll see how he does in the next few games. Lin had his best game of the season. He was aggressive (although still too unnecessarily passive in the first half) and made several Linsanity drives to the basket. He also looked the most explosive I’ve seen him all season in terms of beating his man one-on-one consistently. It was the first time this season that he scored consecutive points (on two consecutive drives in the fourth quarter when the Rockets really needed the points), I believe. He could have had even more points had he converted a few at the rim (still not finishing like he did during Linsanity). But it’s great to see Lin building on his confidence that he found in the blow out of the Knicks. Hopefully, he starts being more and more aggressive. Lin’s teammates still need to do a better job of finding him after he gives up the ball. Lin called for the ball several times when he was wide open and his teammates either didn’t see him or looked him off. I think once Lin starts making shots consistently, his teammates will give him the ball more after he gives it up. Lin’s shot is looking better and better, though. He went 8 of 14 today and today was one of the few times that Lin attempted double-digit field goals since his recent struggles.
Rockets need to do more in-and-outs. They hardly do any. Patterson, in particular, needs to do a better job of passing the ball out when he doesn’t have an easy shot, because when Lin passes the ball in to him, Lin’s defender goes to help on Patterson and Lin’s often wide open. We also need to do more give-and-goes. There was a very nice one between Delfino and Patterson. I don’t know why teams don’t do more of that. It’s tough to defend.
Today’s game is probably the first game that the Rockets didn’t rely too much on Harden and it was great to see. I’m glad to see that others ares stepping up and are not being overshadowed too much by Harden. Patterson is continuing to do very well and he’s knocking down shots. He also had two key consecutive blocks int he fourth quarter when the Jazz were trying to close the lead.
I wasn’t sure if Parsons was going to play, but was glad to see him out there–Sampson should have rested him more, though. Sampson plays Parsons and Harden way too much. He needs to do a much better job of monitoring their minutes. I think Sampson doesn’t the poorest job of managing Parsons’s minutes. He had another very solid game tonight. Pretty much all Rockets players had solid games tonight. Asik 5 of 5 field goal, 4 of 5 from the line, 3 blocks. Asik keeps getting better and better offensively. Smith also had a great game off the bench. I knew nothing about Smith before this season, but I’ve been a fan of his since pre-season. I’m glad to see Sampson trusting Smith. Hope McHale continues to play Smith when McHale returns. On a similar note, I’m disappointed that Jones was sent to the D-League. I guess they just would prefer him to play, rather than sit him on the bench. But Jones is a future star in my eyes. Just needs to get some more playing time, but I guess it’s hard to find him playing time since the Rockets are using Morris as a Power Forward. I was very impressed with Delfino tonight. He showed no rust after coming back from injury. Delfino was a big factor tonight, I thought. He came into the game in the 2nd quarter and gave the Rockets a lot of energy. There was a noticeable difference in the energy level of the Rockets before and after Delfino came into the game. Overall, another great team win.