With the game in the balance and the lead diminishing by the minute, Jeremy Lin rose up and fired a three, swishing it and pushing the lead to thirteen. Within the next thirty seconds, Lin hit another one and the game was out of reach from there.
It was a fitting spot in a game where the Rockets got huge contributions from all over the starting lineup. Lin, Harden, Parsons, and Asik were all huge in different spots as the Rockets coasted to a victory over the Nets in the Toyota Center.
Let's go deeper into the victory.
With the Nets struggling to defend the pick-and-roll, the Rockets took advantage and dunked all over the Nets. Greg Smith got things started in the first quarter with a couple of dunks off Harden passes, and Asik continued the trend, with a few thunderous dunks over Brook Lopez.
Of Omer Asik's 20 points, at least 8 were off of dunks. Given that Brook Lopez defends in the pick-and-roll about as well as a shopping cart, it was important that the Rockets take advantage. They did, and that was huge in the victory. Seeing the dunks was pretty darn fun as well.
The Offense Returns
It's been far too long, folks.
It was over a month ago when the Rockets were scoring 120 a night, mowing down teams, and looking like a pretty frightening playoff team. Coming off a number of mediocre offensive performances, those expectations have been tempered.
Tonight, the mean, green, Rockets offensive machine got cranking again, buoyed by strong games from James Harden, Chandler Parsons, and Omer Asik. The floor was spaced very well, the Rockets held onto the ball (just 11 turnovers), and as was previously mentioned, they ran the pick-and-roll to perfection.
On top of all that, the Rockets were consistently hitting on outside shots for the first time in what seemed like weeks. The team really has been executing the offense quite well, but the complete inability to hit an outside jumper has made them look much worse.
Lin Finds A Way To Contribute
I wanted to use this space to discuss Jeremy Lin's game because this blog has been criticized at times for being overly anti-Lin. Lin had a pretty poor scoring game for three quarters, but he was extremely important tonight with regards to keeping the offense going when Harden was off the floor in those quarters.
He passed extremely well, setting up open shooters and cutters, but more importantly, he did not jack up shots that weren't falling. When he realized that his shot wasn't falling consistently, Lin opted to pick his spots more, using his speed to score in transition and giving up the contested jumpers.
Not only did he make sure his offense didn't hurt the Rockets when he wasn't really hitting his shots, his defense was excellent. He was often guarding the Nets' shooting guards, and did a great job limiting them and keeping them on the outside.
However, in the fourth as he started hit a couple of shots in a row, Lin really started to get going. With other options cooling off a bit, Lin carried them and helped preserve the win. As he moves forward, he should watch film of this game again to realize that a bad start doesn't doom him to a bad finish.