By the second quarter of this game the Houston Rockets had done their best impression of Dirk Nowitzki's beard -- They were gone!
The Sacramento Kings received an undressing to the tune of 121 - 100 and the Houston Rockets climbed the ladder to the 6th seed in the West with two games remaining.
Tonight the Rockets proved why teams should fear them in the playoffs. They dropped 121 points and it was nearly effortless. Was anyone sweating? Did they even have refs at this game? Can we get more than three points in a single shot?
You don't lose many games when you shoot 54% from the field and 48% from three.
The second quarter was the only blight on an outstanding performance. At this point the second quarter Rockets lethargy is so routine it could be a Tony award winning show on Broadway.
We saw a 16 point lead drop to 4 points in the second. Once the starters came back on the floor everything was right with the world and the Rockets went back to work.
Chandler Parsons returned to action tonight and logged 27 minutes. He obviously didn't miss many shoot-arounds -- he went 5-7 from the field for 13 points. He did look a half-step slow and didn't make as many moves to the basket as we're accustomed to. He may need a game or two to transfer some of this abundant off-court swag to on-court swag.
Lin & Asik both logged 26 minutes in the blowout. Mike D'Antoni may be the only person in the league who disagrees with giving these guys some easy nights before the playoffs.
Every game now has a playoff context to it and it's worth paying attention to the rotations the Rockets employed in this game.
An outstanding performance from Terrence Jones saw him work his way into the starter rotation for parts of the second and third quarters. He played some serious defense tonight and impressed us with his push-back blocks and rebounding. But we have to stay grounded. Tonight's competition was the Kings, they're not particularly large or physical and the true test of Jones' abilities will come against a team like the Grizzlies.
Terrence Jones appears to have taken Donatas Motiejunas' minutes. D-Mo didn't touch the court until the third period when the game was well out of hand.
To me, this makes sense. With Carlos Delfino and Francisco Garcia in the rotation the big need on the court is defense and rebounding. D-Mo doesn't bring this to the table at anywhere near the rate Jones/Greg Smith do.
There are reasons to be concerned about the second string.
In the second quarter the Rockets played Delfino at PF and Terrence Jones at C. The defense looked bad. Like Starship Troopers invasion of Klendathu bad... Yes, I went there.
Hopefully this was an experiment we won't need to see come playoff time, because it did not work tonight: Beverley, Garcia, Parsons, Delfino, Jones.
Jimmer Fredette lit up the Rockets in the second quarter. As a reference: If you are an NBA team... Jimmer lighting you up is the same as going to a bar with your girlfriend and having her leave with the guy wearing an Affliction T-Shirt who spent the whole night calling everyone "champ." Does it happen on occasion? Yes. Should it ever? No.
- The Rockets set a season record for blocks in a game with 12. Previous record was 10.
- James Harden went 6 - 7 in the first half. He finished 11 - 16.
- Chandler Parsons returned and scored 13 points on 5 - 7 shooting.
- DeMarcus Cousins played the point on a fast break and went behind the back. The Rockets surrendered an easy two to him.
- Terrence Jones defended Cousins for portions of the game and did a respectable job.
- Carlos Delfino played PF for a portion of this game.
- James Harden is 23 points shy of 2,000 points this season. Only four Rockets have done that before. Can you name them?
- Jimmer Fredette finished with 10 points. Though it seems like he had 16 points in the second quarter.
- D-Mo finished with 4 fouls! He only played in garbage time!
- Aaron Brooks got a big ovation when he entered at the end of the game for five minutes of play. He's far from McHale's rotation.
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