Chandler Parsons was a second round pick. Marcus Camby was acquired for a second round pick. Luis Scola was acquired for a second round pick and Billy Spanoulis. Goran Dragic was had for a guy playing in China right now (and a first round pick on top of that).
And yet, this ragtag group manages to pull off amazing wins against teams with much more pedigree than them. And in this one, the Rockets did what they do best, closing out a great win against a team that had gotten used to slamming the door on them.
In a game that seemed to mirror the victory against Chicago three days earlier, the Rockets jumped out to an early lead before getting trounced in the 2nd quarter. While the Rockets were begging for calls, the Lakers were fast breaking and slamming the ball down their throats.
Chandler Parsons picked up his first career technical, and he was not alone in his displeasure. At times, the team seemed more focused on making their case to the officials than playing the game, letting Los Angeles take a nine point lead into the break.
After a halftime speech that was likely horribly obscene, the Rockets took control in the third. The two man team of Dragic and Camby could not be stopped on the offensive end, and Chandler Parsons allowed Kobe just one field goal the entire quarter. With their shots falling again and the defense tightening up, the Rockets emerged from the third with a three point lead.
If you were expecting Kobe time, you would've been sorely disappointed. The Black Mamba managed just one field goal yet again in the fourth, largely shut down by constant double teams. After Luis Scola went off for nine in a row midway through the quarter, Chandler Parsons hit a deep three, and Goran Dragic and Chase Budinger iced it at the line, the Rockets became the second team this season to beat both the Lakers and Thunder on the road.
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1. Two-Headed Center
Going into this match-up, I was hoping to see Dalembert and Camby on the court at the same time against the Lakers' hulking front court. Kevin McHale, who perhaps has a better feel for these kinds of things, didn't do that, instead opting for the two centers to split time almost evenly.
In their minutes, Camby and Dalembert performed extremely well. As a pair, they combined for 24 points and 17 rebounds. Who needs Dwight Howard? Dwight can't hit threes like this!
(h/t to ClutchFans)
2. Goran Freaking Dragic
Goran, this is really starting to get old. We get it, you're ridiculous. You can do whatever you'd like. Yes, I will gladly allow your first born to marry my first born.
But at some point, you need to stop. A few days ago, I expected Dragic to get something in the realm of 5 years, $40 million when he hits free agency, but now even that seems conservative. Don't be greedy, just play a little worse please.
3. Andrew Bynum's Antics
For some reason, the Rockets bring out the worst in Bynum. Obviously, he's widely considered to be a headcase, but he's had just seven technicals on the season. Four have come against the Rockets.
Perhaps Rockets fans had a case to be made about the officiating after looking at the foul disparity, but the refs evened the score with the quick heave-ho for Bynum. For the second straight game against the Rockets, Bynum got basically no leeway on his second technical. His comments seemed like standard barking, something refs will typically tolerate from a guy sitting on one "T." But, just like that, he was gone.
If anybody in the Lakers' front office is reading this, let me remind you that this guy is a headcase. He's a lunatic, you need to get him off the team. I guess the Rockets could take a flier on him. Yep, just let us take the problem off your hands.
It was just that kind of night. Patrick Patterson and the bench crew didn't play their best game and the team gave up 23 to Metta World Peace, but the Rockets pulled out a win in LA in a must-win situation. Let's enjoy the win and skip this portion of the exercise.