I expected a blow out tonight and I got a blow out, so I’m happy. Rockets getting back to doing what they’re supposed to do. It was close up until the second half of the second quarter, when the starters came back into the game and went on 15-0 or 18-0 run to end the first half up 13 and it was all over after that for the Suns. Rockets played great team ball tonight and clamped down on D hard in the second half of second quarter and Jeremy Lin was a big part of the defense.
Lin had a great game tonight. Lin is a nice guy off the court, but on the court, he’s very competitive and it was in full force tonight. I didn’t see the last Suns game, but in tonight’s game I can tell that Lin really wanted to play well against Dragic, because he’s well aware of the comparisons. In fact, Lin has made the comparison himself when the Rockets met with him in the off season. Lin looked completely focused on both ends of the court. He ran even harder than usual (which is crazy hard by the way) and he wanted to shut down Dragic on the defensive end. I can always tell when Lin’s focused on the defensive end. Lin’s stats were pretty good tonight, but he played better than his stats. He ran the show and was in full control of the game, as a result, the Rockets looked great. The ball was zipping around, everyone was getting shots. D-Mo had a career high 19 points. That was good to see, since he has been struggling some since his fantastic debut as a starter. T-Rob also looked good tonight. I didn’t know he could put it on the floor like that! Man, that one possession in transition when he was putting it behind his back and made a great bounce pass to Smith–he looked like a Point Forward! Greg smith also grabbed down 12 boards (I wonder if that’s a career high). Pretty much everyone played well, tonight and, of course, Aaron Brooks made his debut and got a standing ovation after hitting a three. I heard he has been doing well at practice, so I’m sure we’ll see more of the crowd favorite in coming games. We also got to see James Anderson. Man, that kid can play. Wish he got more minutes.
Tonight’s game was a good start to a very favorable upcoming schedule. If the Rockets didn’t win by at least 20, I would have been concerned. In prior posts, I said that Rockets should come out of this stretch before the meet the Spurs losing no more than 2 games. Well, they’ve already lost two games, so that means they better not lose anymore games until they meet the Spurs, which is very doable, as long as they continue to do what they’re supposed to do. So if they go on a winning streak, then the Phoenix loss on Sunday won’t be an issue at all. They’ll just have ended up losing the wrong game, but still the same number of games. In this case, it’s the ends that matter, not the means. So Rockets can essentially wipe away the awful loss to the Suns if they don’t lose any games until they meet up with the Spurs.
Aaron Brooks, in his post game interview summed up Lin’s performance very well: “He set the tone in that third quarter. You couldn’t even tell James Harden was on the floor in the beginning of the first five minutes (of the third quarter), because Jeremy was taking over and helping us get the lead.”
Just saw this on Ultimate Rockets. It confirms my feelings that Lin was even more focused than usual tonight and really controlled the game on both ends of the floor (http://blog.chron.com/ultimaterockets/2013/03/rockets-launch-past-suns-in-second-quarter/):
The Rockets went from that timeout to 18 dominant minutes and from Saturday’s loss in Phoenix to a 111-81 blowout of the Suns on Wednesday night to open a seven-game homestand with their biggest rout of the Suns in franchise history.
It all began with those few minutes recharging their batteries on the bench.
“It was J. Lin,” Rockets forward Chandler Parsons said of the message Jeremy Lin led during the timeout. “We said something like, ‘C’mon, this game is way bigger for us than it is for them. We have to win this game with defense.’
“I think all five guys bought in and really played hard. Guys were all over the place. Guys were really physical defensively. We were getting on the floor. We were taking charges. We were doing all those tough, nitty-gritty things that we didn’t do when we played them in Phoenix.”