The Nuggets proved to be the team I thought they were last night, the Rockets took it right to them and Denver had no answer for it. They tried to run on us and actually were relatively successful during the first quarter, then the Rockets stopped being lazy, played strong, in your face, defense and made good decisions with the ball. After a six steal first quarter, they had 4 the rest of the way, 3 of which came randomly with 10-12 point Rocket leads. It really was a masterful job by the Rockets, they took team play to a, well, I would say new level, but it's the same level they played the two games before. The Nuggets proved to be a decent team, but not a mentally tough team. The Rockets took it to the hole a decent amount and only went to the line 3 times. So even with all the calls going their way Denver could not stand up to the Rockets, that's the definition of soft.
The player of the game was undoubtedly Shane Battier. He forced Melo to pass out and not shoot as much as usual and caused him to turn it over once for every assist he had. It was a remarkable defensive performance. On the offensive end Melo was lost, Shane and the rest of the Rockets kept him close to the three point line and limited his rebounds. And the best part? Shane outscored him. Honestly, he all around out-played him.
I would be remiss without mentioning what I felt was a solid game by Rafer Alston. He shot 7-15 and had 16 points and 8 assists with only 1 turnover. He also played great defense on Allen Iverson, someone he typically would match up horribly with. I really like this Rafer, he's a solid point guard when he plays like this. Please stay around for the rest of the year, PLEASE! Compare Rafer to AI from last night and you wouldn't know who the superstar was. Rafer held him to 7-22 from the field including 1-7 from three, keeping Iverson out of the paint where I think he is most dangerous, limiting him to 17 points. He also had 4 assists, but much like Shane did to Melo, Rafer got him to equal that with 4 turnovers.
Luis Landry dominated the PF position again last night. I'll just let the stat line speak for their performance:Tracy, with the exception of his three point shooting and early turnovers, had a great day. He was 9-15 inside the arc and 1-6 outside the line. He was routinely fouled and didn't get the call; it was an odd occurrence, as TMac always gets those calls. His 22 points lead all scorers and he added 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals. It was an overall strong game.
Great game by the Rockets, I thoroughly enjoyed everything after the 2 minute mark in the first quarter. Next up is Indiana at Toyota on Wednesday at 7:30PM CST.