Chandler Parsons racked up 29 points while Terrence Jones posted a double double and the Rockets magic number dropped to 3
Amid controversy over the literal and figurative direction of their franchise the Sacramento Kings gave the Rockets a run for their money tonight.
The Kings worked hard to close a double digit Rockets lead into just a four point deficit late in the fourth quarter. A series of mistakes and loose ball-handling gave let the Rockets defense extract extra possessions and turn a Kings surge into a whimper.
Hands down the best player in tonight's game.
Parsons was great in the first half. He nailed open threes and kept the Kings defense honest by stretching the floor.
In the second half, Parsons showcased all of his skills. He drilled back to back threes. He dominated the paint with DeMarcus Cousins
in foul trouble. He took what he wanted. Parsons impressed with his underrated passing by finding open Rockets and left the Kings defense guessing most of the half.
They had no solutions for Chandler Parsons.
Harden & Lin -- Assist Men
Lin logged 10 assists paired with 15 points for a double double and James Harden
posted 9 assists with 21 points. Cat eyes, hawk eyes, shark eyes... whatever animal has the best eyes, those are the eyes Lin & Harden brought to tonight's game.
The main benefactors of this animal-vision were Omer Asik
& Terrence Jones
who were found free underneath the basket on a routine basis. Especially in the third quarter when DeMarcus Cousins took a seat with three fouls. Asik made six field goals on the night. By my recollection, four of those were uncontested dunks. When Asik wasn't throwing down an assisted slam the sweet passing from Lin and Harden was sending him to the foul line where he shot seven of nine.
Terrence Jones -- More?
When you get a shoutout from Daryl Morey during the game. You're probably having a good game:
Johnathan Feigen said Jones "flipped a switch" during his time in the D-League. Well tonight he looked like a potential solution at PF for the Rockets.
It's surprising after spending a season being virtually ignored.
Tonight he provided a raw energy matched only by Patrick Beverley
. On the offensive glass he was everywhere. He worked off of Lin, Harden & Parsons to find positioning and pulled down eight offensive rebounds.
McHale rewarded Jones with 29 minutes of run. Motiejunas spent most of the second half on the bench despite a good first half. When Greg Smith touched the floor in the second half you were scratching your head wondering what happened to Jones.
It's yet to be seen if Jones is the next Hayes, Landry, Hill, or Patterson (did I get everyone?). But he certainly proved that he deserves a hard look.
- Jermey Lin had a breakaway dunk in the first quarter.
- The Rockets shot back-to-back-to-back up-and-under shots in the first quarter.
- Patrick Beverley had another great rejection in the first half on a fast break.
- D-Mo played like a man in the first half. Scored seven points and grabbed two rebounds.
- We saw this five on the court together: Bevereley, Anderson, Garcia, Jones, D-Mo.
- Tyreke Evans kept the Rockets from pulling away in the third quarter (22 points on the night).
- Marcus Thornton kept the Rockets from pulling away in the fourth quarter (21 points on the night).
- Cousins hilariously ran point after making a steal at half court in the fourth. He went to the hole and drew a foul on Asik, but the play was all elbows and terrible dribble hesitations (or maybe he's just that slow with the ball).
- Asik slammed home a touchdown pass from Lin in the fourth to seal the game. Cousins fouled him from behind for his sixth foul and Asik completed the three point play.
Thoughts on DeMarcus Cousins:
It's worth noting that DeMarcus Cousins made a huge impact on this game. In the first half the Rockets had no answers for him and he cruised to 14 points while putting three fouls on Omer Asik.
Asik didn't seem accustomed to Cousins' quick catch and move style and failed to force Cousins to take bad shots. What Cousins wanted, he got. There was little redirection.
In the third quarter, Cousins picked up two fouls within the first two minutes of play and was sent to the bench with three total. From that point on, the Rockets offense transformed.
Without Cousins' tattoo-covered headband-wearing lightpole-built frame standing in the lane the Rockets found the shots they wanted. Rockets drives that ended with a missed floater or an up-and-under in the first half turned into layups and dunks in the second half.
On the eye test I would say you want to go at Cousins. He makes bad decisions and it seems like you can put easy fouls on him. But tonight several of Cousins fouls in this game came on loose ball fouls.
Tell us in the comments. What do you think about Cousins and the best way to stop him?
Do you think Terrence Jones deserves a start?
Do things look just fine right now or should we OMG change everything?
Three Is A Magic Number: