Ryan Anderson could not finish Monday night's matchup with the San Antonio Spurs after his back tightened up. On Wednesday, he'd again sit against the Utah Jazz. The Houston Rockets would end up losing both games without him.
On Friday it seemed iffy whether Anderson would play, but he'd end up giving it a go, and the Rockets blew the doors off the Chicago Bulls. The stretch four would pour in a game-high 21 points while shooting 50 percent from three.
It was great to have him back in the lineup stretching the floor and providing some much-needed size. Yes, he'll never be a 15-rebound a night guy, but man is it nice to have someone the same size as other power forwards.
The question going forward is: Could the back spasms which hampered Anderson over the past few games be something that affects him going forward?
Following the Rockets win over the Bulls, Anderson stopped by to talk with Matt Bullard on Root Sports.
"The last few days it's been feeling a little bit tight, especially in the morning," Anderson said. He said there is a little pinch area in his back, but Friday it was either gone or worked out by the training staff.
Luckily Anderson felt fine and was able to play, but if not, would the Rockets have struggled again?
The Bulls can be a physical team, although they lost an element of that when they traded away Taj Gibson, just like the last two teams the Rockets faced and lost to. But Anderson was healthy and filled the role the Rockets agreed to pay him $80 million for.
So far this season, when Anderson has not played or not been able to finish a game, the are Rockets 2-4.
Per on/off numbers, not only is the Rockets’ offense better with Anderson in the game, but even the defense is slightly better. The Rockets have shown when they are fully healthy and locked into a game, they can be world-beaters.
But with Anderson having back spasms it is something to kind an eye out for. Surely he'll keep up the treatment and whatever he needs to do on his end, but the back is such a tricky and mystical thing, you never know what's going to be the thing that upsets it.
Hopefully, at least for the time being, when he's taking out the trash he's lifting with his knees and not his back.
Anderson is vastly important to what the Rockets want to do and hopefully, he can stay healthy.