Tonight the Houston Rockets came out completely flat and did everything in their power to be completely blown by the Brooklyn Nets, but thank whatever god it is that you pray to before you go to bed that Terrence Jones is back and he is healthy. Without Jones there is no way that the Rockets win this game, 102-98.
Things I Loved
- How loud it got at the end of the games. Kudos to those in attendance tonight. Sounded like a mid-90's Sonics-Rockets playoff game. Man, those were the days.
- The dive to get the loose ball with about 1:30 left in the game by James Harden. He only had 15 points tonight and had a bum ankle. That dive might have been a game-saving play. It showed huge balls by the potential MVP of the league.
- Despite having a terrible game by that point and being 1-6 from three for the game, the confidence that Beverley had in himself to take and knock down that three to tie the game at 95-95.
- Then Terrence Jones just carrying the Rockets and willing them to victory. He had 26 points, 12 rebounds, iced the game with two free throws and grabbed the final rebound of the game to officially seal it.
Things I Liked
- Trevor Ariza's game tonight. It was an incredibly quiet and efficient performance: 20 points on 7-11 shooting (5-9 from three), five rebounds, a couple dimes and a few forced turnovers. He was barely mentioned during the game and I didn't realize he had such a good game until I looked at the box score to write this up.
- The offense when Prigioni runs point. He paces the offense well and the Rockets can actually flow in a half court set without James Harden or Dwight Howard on the floor. When the pace of the game slows down in the playoffs, that will be sorely needed.
Corey Brewer doing Corey Brewer things. He didn't fill up the stat sheet tonight, but he was the only one that seemed show effort on defense and was just a general pest against the Nets on the defensive side of the ball.
Things I Disliked
- When the Rockets were looking for energy, K.J. McDaniels, who is energy incarnate, was not looked at once. His defense and intensity could have sparked a run with some of his defensive prowess. He had 18 points and 6 boards against the Nets earlier in the season. He also had a stinker too.
- McHale pulling Pablo Prigioni when he got the pick and roll offense going. Prigioni would work it with any big who wanted to get involved: Smith, D-Mo, Terrence Jones, even Joey Dorsey! You know as soon as the Rockets got some momentum with Pablo, McHale brought in Patrick Beverley the next dead ball.
- The play of Beverley for most of the game.
- Too much isolation on offense. Way too much holding onto the ball early in the shot clock and then having to force a shot up late in the clock. This has been a slight running theme for the season.
- Did I mention the lack of intensity by the whole team to start the game?
Things I Hated
With the Cleveland Cavaliers coming into town on Sunday afternoon for a marquee nationally televised game, it is safe to say that the Rockets were not exactly focused on the Nets tonight. I heard the term "trap game" being thrown around a bit beforehand. The Nets obliged by taking advantage of the Rockets' lack of focus.
- Without Dwight Howard, the Rockets are terrible in the darkly stained wood area of the basketball court. There were moments tonight that Donatas Motiejunas probably could not have kept a baby from its toy, so how is he supposed to keep an actual NBA player from getting to the rim? D-Mo had 11 points and just 3 rebounds tonight. Maybe it's time for Kevin McHale to toy with the lineup a bit and getK.J. McDaniels out there a bit more.
- Josh Smith looked like Detroit Josh Smith tonight. He was 0-5 from three, none really close to going in, yet he kept jacking them up like he was Russell Westbrook in the midst of a 24 percent shooting night.
- Coming out with absolutely no intensity. Yes. the Nets are not that good of a basketball team, but this is the type of team the Rockets needed to beat by 12+ points. Even if Harden sat out with his sore ankle, the Rockets have enough talent to beat the Nets. If the Rockets want to be considered serious championship contenders they need to start beating teams easily that they should.