Houston beats New Orleans 108-101

Houston gets a necessary win from a struggling New Orleans Pelicans
team. The first quarter had you thinking that the Rockets could
potentially be in trouble again, shooting under 40% and finishing the
quarter down 29-21. But when the Rockets made their comeback to tie
the game in the 2nd, it was defense that got them there. And when the
Rockets eventually took their lead in the 4th, they turned back to
that same lockdown defense.

The Pelicans finished the game shooting 41% from the field and
committing 23 turnovers (which is a season high for them).
Admittedly, it’s hard to get excited about playing good defense
against a bad team, but we’ve had a recent stretch of games where we
let mediocre players have 25-30 point nights shooting over 50% of the
field. And the Pelicans certainly have players that can get hot.
Anthony Davis had a 29 point game on a reasonable 9-20 from the
field, but it gets worse from there. Gordon had 10 points on 10
shots. Evans had 10 points on 9 shots. Ryan Anderson had 19 points on
18 shots.

But perhaps the real thing to get excited about is that so many
Rockets players contributed to the win. When you have to think about
who you would call the player of the game, that tells you something:

-James Harden would probably get the player of the game award for
being the only one to score over 20. 24 points, 10 rebounds, 6
assists, 0 turnovers (did I mention the Rockets as a team only had
10?), but he had subpar 7-20 shooting night.

-Guys like Dwight Howard, Beverly and Brewer were somewhat non
factors on the offensive end, but played big roles defensively. Doing
a good job on their best guys all night. Brewer had 3 steals and drew
4 charges on the defensive end.

-Terrance Jones had a 15 point game shooting 6-12 from the floor.

-Ariza went for 13 on 5-11, and was guarding everyone. He spent a lot
of plays guarding Davis, especially in the 3rd when Dwight and Capela
both picked up 4 fouls. Not that he shut Davis down, but he actually
did pretty well mostly playing him 1 on 1 defensively.

-Ty Lawson actually had a solid game not even a week after having a
few games where he was a virtual no-show (and one game where he was a
literal no-show, earning the ‘Did Not Play-Coaches Decision’).
Getting 12 points on 6 shots and adding 6 assists as well. And for
stretches of the game he looked like the old Ty Lawson. Could Ty
Lawson be back?

-Gotta give some credit to JB Bickerstaff for making good roster
adjustments game to game (and even within this game) allowing us to
maximize the success of the team. Houston actually has a deep team
when the guys are playing at their expected playing levels. So that
means when guys like Corey Brewer are playing with a lot of energy on
the defensive end, those are the guys that get a lot of playing time
down the stretch. Similarly with Terrance Jones and Ty Lawson. All
three of those guys had their roles reduced recently because of bad
play, but were given extended playing time in this game because of
good play.

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