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Houston wins preseason game number five, moving the record to 3-2. It's only the preseason, but wins are still nice.
It's a quick recap tonight since everyone — including myself — is apparently busy.
1. Kevin Martin and Patrick Patterson carried the load for Houston while Jeremy Lin distributed dime after dime. Martin finished 8-11 from the field for 22 points (man, he really looks like his old self), Patterson added 17 points with six boards and Lin finished with 12 assists and four steals. Telling you, if Lin's assist numbers stay high, this offense is going to thrive. We know he'll try to score the ball, but the assists could be huge.
2. Carlos Delfino and Tony Douglas might have secured themselves the first two spots off the bench for this team, and it's certainly Douglas who has made a bigger impact as the backup point guard thus far as compared to Shaun Livingston.
3. We didn't see much of the Memphis starters. They only got a few minutes on the floor together. So take that for what it's worth.
4. Royce White got some burn in the last five minutes and looked good, but file that under "Looked Good In The Last Five Minutes" and you'll see names like "Williams, Terrence" and so on.
A moment with Daryl:
During the second quarter, Houston's general manager Daryl Morey was given some air time and for the most part he stuck to his shtick. One thing Daryl said that I found intriguing was that Terrance Jones had been the best rookie up to this point in the pre season. I don't think there is any argument to the contrary but there wasn't even a slight hesitation in Morey's retort to the question of best rook. Morey also reiterated that for a guy like Motiejunas, the speed of the game is going to be an adjustment but the physicality is more of an initial challenge. Bill Worrell asked Morey what his thought process was on drafting a guy like Royce White. Morey responded by saying that obviously you wish every draft pick was a Shane Battier but what the Rockets need right now is a tremendous talent with upside and making the safe pick isn't in Houston's best interest. I'm inclined to agree. We can sign a level headed mediocre talent any summer but there's no better time to draft a high risk, high reward player than in the middle of a rebuild.
The first half:
Houston trotted onto the court in the first quarter and didn't take the game very seriously until Memphis had opened up an early run. The Gasol/Randolph front-court duo is about as dominant and dynamic as you get these days and they were making their presence known. ZBo was particularly motivated tonight and made sure his volume was felt. His effort didn't translate well to the stat sheet but you better believe Patrick Patterson learned a thing or two. One thing I noticed early on tonight about Omer Asik is that he stays on his feet unless it's absolutely necessary to contest a shot mid air. That's good defense. On offense, Kevin Martin had his hands on the controls through the duration of the first half - he was even posting up. Jeremy Lin was making intelligent passes and scoring when points were needed. Lin was able to get guys the ball when and where they needed it. I've learned a bit about Lin defensively over the past week, namely that he's an above average thief. As far as criticisms go, Lin's jump shot hasn't been the same since his knee injury but I don't think there is any need for alarm just yet. Terrance Jones has uncomfortably long arms. He's got that Batum-like ability to lay the ball in while standing directly next to the baseline behind the backboard. There were quite a few blown layups in the first half in transition, I think Kevin McHale will have a lot to say about that this week.
The second half:
Patrick Patterson played exceptionally during both halves. Offensively, Patrick got some work in on his post game and brought his range out to the three point line. I remember prior to his rookie year PatPat was really emphasizing the three point range in summer league and then suddenly the entire initiative disappeared. If the three point shot is serviceable, Patterson could really benefit the team by stretching the floor. Tony Douglas played well and his shot was falling. I think that Tony has got a leg up on Machado and Livingston and we should expect him to be the 6th or 7th guy in McHales rotation. He's a great defender and from what I've seen in October, his jumper is back. At one point during the third quarter the Toyota Center buzzer went off for about 10 minutes which I found hilarious. During the fourth quarter the Rockets were able to hold their lead and around the five minute mark Kevin McHale cleared the bench. Royce White, who had not previously seen the court, had a good game and really looked to set up Donatas Motiejuans in transition. White had two gorgeous behind the back passes.
The bottom line:
Tonight we were treated to a preview of McHales regular season rotation. In extended minutes, Jeremy Lin got 12 assists, Kevin Martin got 22 points, and Omer Asik fouled out. That's not a knock on Omer, by the way, who played great but staying in the game could prove to be a challenge for the seven footer who has previously been asked to play less than fifteen minutes in a support role. Patrick Patterson was a threat on both ends. I don't give Chandler Parsons the attention he deserves; Parsons had a great game tonight. The Grizzlies were trying to find a voice for their post-O.J. Mayo bench and I think there's a gem or two somewhere in that group. Mike Conley has really solidified his role as the Grizzlies starter and was able to score with ease tonight.
Good showing from the Red tonight, all told.