The Houston Rockets put on an offensive clinic and played one of their toughest games (Defensively and mentally) of the year against the New York Knicks. The result? A 103-131 beat down that looked more like the saddest scene from Old Yeller than it did a basketball game. The Rockets kept their league-leading turnover figures down (They average 17, they only turned the ball over 14 times and let's not count garbage time turnovers so it's more like 11). The Rockets were aided by the Knicks fascination with the three ball tonight and the fact that outside of Tyson Chandler their interior defense is about as intimidating as my three year old niece. The Rockets also managed to eschew their shooting woes (A sub-average 42% prior to tonight's game). This game featured impact performances from several Rockets. You don't manage to score 72 points in a half and 104 points after three quarters of basketball with a few guys playing out of their minds. The Knicks waved the white flag with five minutes left to go in the game. That single act proudly proclaimed the Rockets the first team to full on blow out the Knicks.
We're allowed to be hopeful folks because throughout this season you'll be getting glimpses of what this team can be when it's all together and set. Yes, the Knicks made a lot of horrible decisions and showed their age so that accounts for some of it but if you watched the way the Rockets dominated this game you'll find it was also their active defense, crisp ball movement, and energy overall. Finding negatives in this game really comes down to nitpicking and looking at finer points of the game (Come on, obliterate is really the only way to describe what the Rockets did to the Knicks tonight). Without further ado, three up and three down!
Chandler Parsons - Parsons had the game of his professional career. Honestly, I expected him to eclipse James Harden's performance on the night with his overall performance. Parsons ended the game with 31 points, 4 assists, and 5 rebounds. The sexiest part of his performance is the 76% shooting from the floor. Unfortunately Chandler's incredible stat line managed to get overshadowed by...
James Harden - Harden broke from his shooting slump and turned in a performance line of 33 points, 9 assists, and 4 rebounds. Harden continued his efficient shooting in general and added to it with a 60% three point shooting night. My only regret about James is that he didn't get three more free throws for a chance to break Kevin Martin's franchise record of 18-18 in a single game. Harden closed it out on 16-16.
Omer Asik - Omer turned in yet another amazing performance and took yet another hard shot on the floor. He received an elbow from Tyson Chandler for his irritating defense and rebounding. Omer capped the night with 18 points, 14 rebounds, and a block. 8 million a year is turning into a steal for this guy (Our oldest starter, mind you).
Jeremy Lin - I know, I'm prepared for the anger on this one. Don't get me wrong, Jeremy Lin turned in a great game as far as you can ask for the kid quarterbacking the game but let's look at his stat line and realize he got stranded in the lane again and again tonight. Jeremy recorded 13 points, 3 assists, and 7 rebounds. That's respectable from your point guard but just look at how easy it was to score on the Knicks. That assist total needed to be higher. More to the point, four turnovers eclipses each assist he had tonight.
Marcus Morris's Injury - Your guess is as good as mine as to what caused it. Hopefully it's nothing major and nothing indicative of a larger problem. Leading up to the collapse of Marcus early in the game (From which he returned) he tried to dunk and came down holding his torso and during a routine box out Carmelo Anthony's arm found its way up towards Marcus's neck/jaw. Keep focused on Jonathan Feigen's Twitter account and TDS for updates on that.
Starter's Minutes - Did we really need to play most of these guys in the fourth quarter? Aldrich and Delfino are dealing with injuries and took a DNP but this game was just plain out of hand a few minutes into the fourth quarter. James Harden put on a clinic but he doesn't need to be near 39 minutes tonight. Asik was pulled at 29 minutes. Lin logged about 35.