Another win against an overpowered and mismatched opponent wasn’t the takeaway from this one. Instead Rockets fans will be hitting refresh over the next 24 hours to determine the extent of Luc Mbah a Moute’s injury.
With two minutes left in the second quarter, Luc threw down a vicious dunk and lost contact with the rim. He went down clutching his shoulder with a pained look of concern.
Luc Mbah a Moute landed hard after a slam, favoring his arm/shoulder pic.twitter.com/NKGwDoJgvh— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) December 14, 2017
Mbah a Moute got to his feet and was escorted directly to the locker room by trainer Keith Jones. The injury arrived while the Rockets are steamrolling opponents with an 11-game win streak.
The injury has serious implications for upcoming games. Coach Mike D’Antoni doesn’t respond to injuries by expanding his player pool. He responds by leaning more on the guys he trusts. Which means more minutes for James Harden, P.J. Tucker and Trevor Ariza.
In tonight’s contest, the Rockets started slow in the first quarter but used Chris Paul’s point god skills to burn a 25-0 run the Hornets would never recover from.
James Harden tallied a low-key 21 points and 8 assists, but his heroics were never a requirement as Paul pushed the offense behind a barrage of threes. Harden has scored 20 points or more in every game this season.
The future Hall of Fame point guard led the way with 31 points, 11 assists, 7 rebounds and just 3 turnovers.
The Hornets looked out of their element. They never mounted a cohesive defense against Paul and Harden. When they defended the three-point line, Houston blew past them. When they sealed off drives, Rockets shooters just rained threes with no respect for the faces of the defenders they were shooting in.
Charlotte’s offense depended on feeding Dwight Howard in the post. The former Rocket filled the stat sheet with 26 points and 18 rebounds, but any Rocket fan can tell you feeding Dwight in the post doesn’t produce wins against quality opponents.
Stats of the night: Frank Kaminsky was a -38 and Jeremy Lamb was a -32.
Also... This is the opposite of how James Harden felt about playing with Dwight Howard.