How’s that for a debut? Prize free agent acquisition Christian Wood looked practically unstoppable, going for 27 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal, and a block on 10-18 shooting in just 24 minutes of action, and he also vibed pretty well with James Harden, leading the Houston Rockets to a big 128-106 victory over the San Antonio Spurs in the preseason finale.
Wood looked athletic running the floor, was dominant in the paint, and shot 2-6 from beyond the arc, and his performance maybe gave The Beard something to think about as pertains to his future with the franchise.
This dime from Harden to Christian Wood. pic.twitter.com/h2O1mJnDqW— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) December 18, 2020
As for Harden, he looked very much like himself, going for 20 points, 7 rebounds, and 9 assists on 8-14 from the floor and 3-6 from deep in 27 minutes. When Harden and Wood left the game for the night, the Rockets were up 31 points, and both were a +22. They looked dominant.
In addition, Eric Gordon also looked good tonight and even did a fair bit of ball handling, a good sign with backup point guard Chris Clemons now done for the season. EG finished with 23 points and 5 assists on 9-14 from the field and 4-9 from deep. If he can continue to provide that kind of punch from a playmaking perspective, the Rockets might be able to make do without another guard to backup Harden and John Wall.
Houston’s backups weren’t nearly as good tonight as they were in previous preseason games, though Bruno Caboclo did have 12 and continues to look like he can contribute, but the real story was Harden, Wood, and EG leading what would have been an uglier blowout than it already was and doing it with Wall and DeMarcus Cousins not even playing tonight for rest purposes.
As for the Spurs, they were led by DeMar DeRozan, who finished with 21 points, and they also got 18 from Devin Vassell, 17 points, 10 boards, and 4 assists from Dejounte Murray, and 16 points from Patty Mills.
This Rockets team looks like they have a real chance to be good. If everyone is healthy, they look talented, athletic, and versatile. And who knows? Maybe it’s just enough to convince a certain bearded superstar to stay.
And if not? The Rockets are still talented enough that if you add a Ben Simmons or Pascal Siakam to this group, it’s still going to be a very exciting season.
The Rockets open up the regular season at home on Wednesday, 12/23 against the Oklahoma City Thunder.