The Rockets warded off a depleted Hornets team in Houston tonight and won their second straight preseason game in a row (by 20 points, no less). In general, preseason games mean less then very little but tonight Rockets fans were treated to some performances that just might translate into the regular season. Before I begin my brief summary and analysis I must disclose that I missed a large chunk of the first half due to an internet outage. From what I've been able to gather from comments and tweets my modem chose an ideal time to have a hissy fit. If I missed anything important, let me know below in the comments and let's keep the conversation rolling.
Kevin Martin and Omer Asik were the two Houston starters that really had their fingerprints all over this game. Kevin Martin was surprisingly active on defense. I doubt we'd see the kind of activity from Kevin against a more veteran guard, but watching him disrupt Austin River's momentum all night was a welcomed performance. Martin shot the ball well from outside the arc and did a decent job everywhere else. Omer Asik was all over the defensive glass and gobbled up 15 rebounds in 28 minutes. The more I see of the Turkish big man, the more pleased I am with his contract.
The Rockets looked great on the fast break and great on defense towards the end of the shot clock. The defense was smothering and New Orleans was forced to take quite a few ill advised shots. The momentum of the game really seemed to shift in Houston's favor after half time. Martin commented that, "we had to amp it up in the 3rd quarter [...] we had to set the tone". When asked about the chemistry of the team Martin boasted that "we all know how to play."
The Hornets were all kinds of terrible throughout the game. Robin Lopez was the shining light for New Orleans early on and I was genuinely unaware that he had any sort of post game prior to tonight's showing. The New Orleans backcourt struggled mightily to initiate any offense or score.
Lin played better tonight than he did on Wednesday. He looks like more of a playmaker on this team than he did on the Knicks. Parsons played like Parsons. Terrance Jones did not have a stellar scoring night, but his performance was noteworthy. There were at least three defensive possessions where Jones utilized his freakish wingspan to either block a shot off of an opposing post presence or force a turnover. Tony Douglas played well, shot well, and made some smart plays. Scott Machado and JaJuan Johnson came in at the end and both looked hungry for future minutes. As much as I'd like to see those guys get some NBA burn this season I fear that they're D-League bound, which isn't a terrible thing.
Donatas Motiejunas is one of my favorite prospects. Motie was invisible early on, but he turned up the volume in the fourth and strung together a really nice run. When the dust settled he had 13 points on a plus 50% field goal percentage and that's certainly a step in the right direction.
The game was a demonstration of preseason dominance but let's face the facts: we were playing a team whose best player might have been Al-Farouq Aminu. I think we're seeing more cohesiveness from our starters which is really the most crucial thing to gauge prior to the regular season.
Now I'd like to open the floor to you, the reader: what did you see tonight that we can look forward to seeing more of during the regular season?