With Thomas Robinson and Francisco Garcia still not cleared to play tonight, the undermanned Rockets rode a tremendous shooting streak from everyone on the floor to a 106-96 victory over the Nets. Carlos Delfino had 22, and 7 others had 9 or more points in a collective effort to beat Brooklyn in the Barclays Center.
We saw a good amount of D-Mo swag, Greg Smith, and Patrick Beverley as well, and the young and talented Rockets took down the Nets in a game they really needed. Let's dig a bit deeper into the game, first taking a look at the night of our new power forward.
Your New Power Forward Kills It
Nope, not the one you think. Your new starting power forward, Carlos Delfino went off from behind the arc, finishing with 22 points, 5 assists, and 5 rebounds. As has been the case all season, the Rockets offense functions so much better with the smaller look, as it allows them to better spread the floor, get out in transition, and rain down the threes. On a night when neither James Harden or Jeremy Lin were able to get much going, Delfino's offense proved to be the difference, as he carried the team through numerous slumps.
The Nets, who opted to maintain a more traditional two big lineup for the majority of the game, simply could not find anyone to stay out on Delfino, and he cut them up on his way to a 6-9 performance from behind the arc. Assuming the lineup stays this way (I suspect it will for the foreseeable future), there are a lot of exciting offensive games in store for the Rockets.
Just as inserting Carlos Delfino into the starting lineup helped the offense, there have been damaging effects on the defense and rebounding. With Brooklyn unwilling to go small to matchup with the quick Rockets lineup, the Nets were able to control the boards and hurt the Rockets on the offensive boards.
The Nets were consistently able to get second shots, especially down the stretch, and that allowed them to come back and stay in the game as long as they did despite being outshot so badly.
Unfortunately, there's really not much the Rockets can do to rectify this if they continue to go small, but I'd imagine that a certain young power forward they just acquired might help.
The Young Bench Responds
With the backup point guard, power forward, and (semi-backup) center all sent out of town in the Thomas Robinson deal, a lot was expected of a very inexperienced and young bench. Tonight, they responded, playing efficient, strong basketball and outplaying the deeper, more experienced Brooklyn bench.
All in all, the bench unit of Smith, Motiejunas, Anderson, and Beverley combined for 15 of 20 from the floor. With Garcia and Robinson potentially added into the mix in the next few days, it will be interested to see who stays in that rotation and who goes. One thing is for sure, though. Daryl Morey can produce role players far too easily.