Take a deep breath Rockets fans. Nothing is f&@$ed here, dude. Take pride in your team. Rome was not built in a day and tonight the Rockets looked marvelous. Houston never lost control of the game and when the fourth quarter rolled around Dwight Howard hit his free throws. The Rockets won a game that they were expected to win but it was an important stride nonetheless. Ty Lawson had a monster game with 28 points and 17 assists despite an eye injury. Fantasy basketball owners everywhere are ecstatic. Houston finished the game 122 points to Denver's 111.
Slow starts and sloppy offense have been a common theme in the Rocket's lackluster start to the season but tonight things were encouragingly different. Houston opened the game with a 12-2 lead (with just one turnover). Everyone played their role and the offense was organic. Chandler Parsons took on the scoring burden out of the gates and finished with 20 points. James Harden had a quiet game but he was making plays (the beard finished with 9 assists) and Jeremy Lin provided an important scoring punch off the bench. The Rockets finished the first half with a 17 point lead and four total turnovers. The Nuggets had a lot of trouble keeping the Rockets out of the paint. With JaVale "Franchise" McGee sidelined with a stress fracture the Rockets penetrated at will.
The pace changed at the start of the second half. The Rockets got locked up on offense and left some holes on the exterior defensively. The Nuggets cut the lead to single digits and Dwight Howard picked up his fourth foul just a few minutes into the third quarter. Patrick Beverley, Chandler Parsons and Terrence Jones responded immediately with some fast break buckets to spring the lead back to a comfortable margin. The offense coasted from that point on and at times looked better with Harden and Howard on the bench. Howard started coming alive in the fourth quarter and eventually the Nuggets opted for hack-a-Howard. Dwight made 17 of his 24 free throws tonight and bumped his season average above the 50% mark. Game, set, match.
Omer Asik was a no show tonight at the Toyota Center. The Rockets credit "illness" to Asik's absence and if you believe that then I've got some swampland in Florida to sell you. Omer Asik would have been a huge asset to Kevin McHale tonight with Dwight Howard in foul trouble. Parsons, the best pump faker in the league, put it best when it comes to Omer Asik: "Greg Smith goes down, Marcus Camby has surgery so he is going to play at lot of minutes so I don't know what he is so upset about. He has to come out here, perform and be a professional about it, (via Jenny Dial Creech @ Chron.com). Parsons did a good job of summarizing the way I think most fans feel. The Turkish Delight will always have my respect for what he did in Houston last season but the way he has handled this situation so far has been disappointing. Ultimately if Asik's departure opens up minutes for Donatas Motiejunas then color me excited.
Everybody's favorite seven foot tall and left handed Lithuanian cracked the rotation tonight. Check out a few of the tweets leading up to this game:
Never give up... ... On your dreams— Donatas Motiejunas (@DonatasMot) November 3, 2013
It's not important how hard you can hit it's important how hard you can get hit in keep on moving forward .— Donatas Motiejunas (@DonatasMot) November 12, 2013
When everyone takes a nap I'm trying get ready for my chance with our coach .— Donatas Motiejunas (@DonatasMot) November 14, 2013
D-Mo scored 12 points (11 in the first half, 5-6 shooting) tonight and there was an urgency to his offense that has been noticeably absent up until this point. D-Mo's defense, as advertised, left a lot to be desired. Denver's game plan began to center around punching the ball into whoever Motiejunas was guarding. If D-Mo can demonstrate any consistency with his corner three ball I still think he can bump Terrence Jones out of the starting line up by the all-star break. Dwight Howard is the only fix for D-Mo's deficiencies.
I'm also impressed with Terrence Jones as a defensive big. For the past few games he has been making smart defensive plays, staying on his feet, and helping off his man just enough to block some shots. Outside of D, he had a fantastic line: 14 points, 12 rebounds. The spacing problems seem to be circling the drain for the Rockets.
How about this Kenneth Faried kid, huh? I think those dreadlocks would look pretty dang good in a starting line up next to Dwight Howard. He's not a floor stretching player, but he is an impact frontline player who is allegedly on the market.
Some of the other basketball sites on SB Nation like to do a recap roll call for the gamethread. I thought I'd give it a shot here on TDS and see if this is something y'all might enjoy:
|Roll Call Info|
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