The Nuggets beat the Rockets for the second time this year, this time by a score of 107-98. The Rockets, this time around, had Dwight Howard in the starting lineup and team was as healthy as they have been all season. Health did not matter though, the Rockets still looked dazed and confused.
Below are three takeaways from the game.
Terrence Jones played like he wants to start again
The Rockets moved away from small ball on Friday night against the Nuggets and started a bigger lineup. Instead of starting Terrence Jones, the team went with rookie Montrezl Harrell.
So what happens? Jones goes off, having his most impactful game of the season scoring 23 points, 7 rebounds (4 offensive) and 4 block shots.
Jones for the first time this season played aggressive, no-hesitation basketball. In the Nets game, Jones looked at times like he was trying to figure out what to do with the ball. On Friday night it was so much cleaner.
While I am a small ball guy, if Jones can hit the three like he did Friday he can give them the spacing the small ball needs.
Will the real Ty Lawson please stand up!
You'd think going back to the place you started your career and spent six years of your life, you'd want to show your former team "hey, I'm still a pretty damn good player!"
Yeah, that did not happen at all. Lawson played 34 minutes and scored 0 points. Lawson had a couple of tough shots, but most of his attempts he was pretty open just wasn't able to convert.
It's game number nine on the season, Lawson is so far averaging a career high in minutes. But he's scoring his least amount of points since he was a rookie and his assist numbers are the lowest since his third year in the league.
It's nearing panic time
The Doomsday clock is reaching ever closer to midnight. The Nets and the Nuggets are the teams you have to beat if you expect to be a top-four team in the West. You can't expect to make up these games against the Spurs or whoever else.
I understand the Rockets are essentially just now playing fully healthy because the team was so slowed with injuries in training camp and the preseason. But last season the team was even more banged up, with guys in and out of the lineup. You used to win games just because James Harden was on the floor — which happened in the four-game win streak recently — but he's yet to find a consistent flow.
While, yes the ISOs are happening way too often, you can't blame Harden, he's pulling his weight. The team around him is just not clicking.
The Rockets are in the middle of trying to figure out something that works. Till they find something that works they'll continue to lose. The more losses that pile up the harder and harder it will be to dig out of the hole you made.