It's a Donatas Motiejunas and Isaiah Canaan Thanksgiving special as the Houston Rockets baste the Sacramento Kings 102 - 89 (Yes, that's a holiday applicable pun). Repeatedly thrust into bigger roles due to injury, D-Mo & Canaan helped push the Houston Rockets to 12-3 on the year by fighting off multiple Sacramento Kings attempts to eliminate double digit Rockets' leads. The Rockets jumped out to an early double digit first quarter lead behind James Harden and didn't give up the lead all game, despite big pushes in the second and third quarters powered by DeMarcus Cousins.
Harden recorded a beardlike statline on a Kobelike shooting performance: 26 points, 7 rebounds and 8 assists. Harden went ice cold in the second and third quarters ending with 10-31 shooting performance and only managed six free throw attempts, bricking an uncharacteristic two free throws during his third quarter cold streak.
The Rockets played solid defense against everyone not named DeMarcus Cousins with James Harden icing the game in the final minutes with a steal and slam that will be replayed ten million times less than the video of him standing at half court against the Knicks. Cousins put everyone in foul trouble while continually bullying his way to whatever shot he wanted and 29 points, 17 rebounds and 11-13 free throw shooting. Cousins was slowed in the fourth quarter by what appeared to be a third quarter knee injury. He sat down at the bench grabbing his right knee during a timeout, but missed no time and returned to play immediately. His fourth quarter wasn't as Boogie as he was 'pre-knee grab maybe injury but he still played so not injury'... or something.
The difference of this game clearly came from turnovers. The Kings out rebounded the Rockets but committed 20 turnovers. The Rockets committed only four turnovers controlling their offensive possessions, something they're not known for... like Taylor Swift and healthy relationships.
Isaiah Canaan -- Recorded a career high 24 points while draining six of ten threes, Rio Grande style. Canaan's threes were a third quarter firewall during a Kings push that narrowed the Rockets' lead to two points while Boogie Cousins' was powering through the Rockets front line and the Kings passing was producing easy baskets.
Donatas Motiejunas -- Notched a career high 21 points behind a never-ending series of up and under post moves. All Rockets fans know that despite D-Mo's gifted post moves he fails to produce on game nights. D-Mo is saddled with an inexplicable case of timidity unseen since Yao Ming's refusal to dunk a basketball despite being the largest man in a 100-mile radius. D-Mo took 15 shots tonight and never once hesitated to make a move once he got the ball, even with Boogie Cousins breathing down his neck. Twice he went hard to the hole for a dunk he didn't get, but the effort showed a different D-Mo.
Also This Pass:
Turnovers - The Rockets almost went an entire half without a single turnover. I'll write that again: The league's most turnoveriest turnover factory almost went an entire half without a turnover. The Rockets committed their first turnover of the game with 3:09 left in the first half. As a casual observer could interpret, the results are astounding. The Rockets played good defense tonight, but they also gave up virtually no fast breaks and single digit points off turnovers because there were only four Rockets turnovers for transition points to occur on. Science, math and common sense tells us the Kings can't score points off turnovers and have non-Kevin Love outlet fastbreaks without turnovers.
DeMarcus Cousins - Seriously, put this guy in last year's all-star game and this year's. Without Dwight Howard on the court Cousins bullied the paint and created havoc on both ends. The Kings' strong second and third quarter pushes were powered either by Cousins or the attention Cousins attracted from the Rockets defense. The number of fouls Cousins attracted also forced the Rockets to put Joey Dorsey on the court. If you've never seen Dorsey put on sneakers, that favors the Kings.
James Harden's First Quarter - Here's a photo of the first quarter performances:
Harden went extremely cold after this first quarter, but it was enough to give the Rockets a lead the Kings couldn't surmount.
Joey Dorsey - I haven't ripped on him enough. The guy is 2 of 12 shooting free throws on the year. He offered nothing. He was in the game to soak up fouls at a rate only Todd MacCulloch would be proud of. We desperately need Dwight Howard back to counter bigs like Cousins, but we need better backup support as well.
Happy Thanksgiving Dream Shake readers. If you're going to dress up your turkey I'd recommend a Ryan Bowen costume. That guy was not good.