In the first quarter, Luis Scola led the way, putting in 10 points on a combination of hook shots, jumpers, and lay-ins. In the second, it was Kevin Martin's turn, as he emerged from the disastrous shooting game he had just three nights earlier.
Throughout the entire game, however, Kyle Lowry carried the squad. Before checking out in the 3rd quarter of a decided game, Lowry contributed in all facets of the game. He disrupted the Spurs with his quick hands, pushed the ball in transition, and scored a pair of memorable buzzer beating three pointers on his way to a 16, 9, and 8 night.
In his post game interview, Kevin Martin credited his "all-star point guard" with getting him going and Lowry's importance to the team was clear on a night when the offense was kicking on all cylinders.
The Spurs were clearly tired a night after playing the Clippers, but this game was won by the Rockets, not given away by Gregg Popovich's reluctance to play Tim Duncan in the second half. Though the Spurs fought back time after time as Houston tried to stretch the lead in the 1st and 2nd quarters, the Rockets put them away in the 3rd and 4th and never let them back.
A few more thoughts after the jump.
I'm tired so please pardon the bullet points, but these are my notes:
- Jordan Hill had his classic game where he looked great at times, but he looked downright horrible on other possessions. If he wants to be getting serious minutes all year, his post defense is going to need to improve dramatically. A guy like Tiaggo Splitter should not be able to take him to school possession after possession.
- Kevin McHale understands this compressed schedule. Look down the box score and you'll see an absurd amount of balance in minutes played. Nine players with 20 minutes or more played (and another, Chandler Parsons, with 17) is a huge departure from the days of Rick Adelman's tight rotation. McHale is trying to see what he has in some young players and it worked out tonight on the first night of a back-to-back-to-back.
- It goes without saying, but Dalembert is a tremendous fit for this team on defense. He has yet to have one of his trademark goaltends but he has remained a force in the paint. His point total doesn't really matter on a team with so many scorers, but the 4 blocks and 7 rebounds in 20 minutes were huge for the Rockets tonight.
- Chandler Parsons got some time tonight, and he looked surprisingly active on the boards. He was very nervous and couldn't get his shot to fall, but the skills seem to be there. Unfortunately, his highlight might've been banking in his first free throw as the adrenaline coursed through his veins.
- As good as it was to see Martin bounce back from a disastrous game against the Magic, it was equally distressing to see Chase Budinger fail to play well again. He couldn't find his spots and more importantly looked completely outclassed once again. It's only been two games, but I wouldn't be shocked to see Bud bounced from the starting lineup by the time the season is over.
- It was worrying to see DeJuan Blair go off for 22 tonight. Scola and Hill had him for most of the game and their defense was pretty nonexistent.
- This afternoon, Daryl Morey and Rockets.com's Jason Friedman talked about the possibility of an star player rising from the ranks of the current roster and the player that Friedman brought up was Kyle Lowry. Tonight, he certainly looked the part. Any point guard who can rack up 8 rebounds in a half while leading their offensively and defensively to a huge lead is gets closer to the "star" stratosphere the longer he keeps it up.
- Most importantly, as good as some of the individual performances were, this was a darn good team performance. The offense ran smoothly, the Spurs "Big Three" were held in check and outplayed by their Rockets counterparts, and the team will be as rested as they could hope going into a tough road game tomorrow night against Memphis.
- Oh ya, and if I didn't say it enough, Kyle Lowry is a monster. Get on the All-Star bandwagon! (Every TDS writer has to have a bandwagon, isn't that a thing?)