First and foremost, I'd like to extend a hand of thanks to Herman Sayger, who originally suggested the idea of implementing the three point shot. Lord knows we needed it tonight against Cleveland. So thanks for that, Herman.
Secondly, I'd like to commend Memphis for taking the Cavs to OT last night. It was evident that Cleveland was tired, especially with all of the open threes that we were getting.
Finally, we address our own performance, which was mostly good, and slightly bad. The good? We kept LeBron in check, and when it comes to defending Cleveland, that's about seventy-five percent of the work. The only Cavaliers to find a rhythm were Delonte West and Big Z. Otherwise, it was the best defensive performance we've seen from the Rockets in this young season.
Aaron Brooks' overall numbers were very good, but most importantly, he was in the lane every other possession. This is key to creating offensive opportunities elsewhere. He also got to the free throw line thirteen, missing only one of those. That's the equivalent of six made jump shots. Sometimes people forget just how valuable free throws are.
If there is anyone to truly commend on our victory, however, it is either Shane Battier or Trevor Ariza. Battier, for his defense and his rare offensive contribution (a Battier three always seems to energize the rest of the guys), and Ariza for his excellent production on offense. It was one of his most efficient outputs as a Rocket.
In a rare turn of events, the Rockets got destroyed on both the offensive and defensive boards. To combat this, the Rockets forced twenty turnovers. Whether it's forcing turnovers or grabbing offensive boards, Houston always finds a way to give themselves extra opportunities to score.
Luis Scola was notably absent, as was Chase Budinger. Sometimes, the shots don't fall. Other times, they are engulfed by a host of defenders, which was indeed the case every time Scola got the ball on the block. Wouldn't you love to, for once, see Luis just throw it down in someone's face?
In a perfect world, the Rockets would have shot better. There were countless possessions in which Houston had open jump shots, and they simply missed them. The Cavs took advantage of this, and stayed alive throughout the game. Cleveland, despite scoring 101 points per game, likes the low-scoring contests, as they are one of the better defensive teams in the league. Tonight, however, they were out-defended by a team that can still put down the clamps when necessary.