Rockets/Bucks recap: Guess who’s back?
Houston made us sweat out the last couple of minutes as the Bucks tried to mount a comeback, but they managed to fend it off with relative ease and end the losing streak a 2. Harden had 30 points on 9-15 shooting. But with no Dwight or Beverly, we needed help from the supporting cast now more than ever.
They got double digit scoring from Thronton (10 pts), Jones (14pts on 7-14fg), Lawson (11pts on 5-10fg) and Ariza (19 on 6-15fg). But they also got unexpected help from someone who was recently aquired in a trade.
The Rockets traded for Josh Smith officially before the Bucks game. It was a trade that had been in the works for weeks but with the injuries to Howard and D-Mo it added some urgency in getting him here sooner rather than later.
Fortunately, he managed to make it to Houston, pass his physical and was declared available to play in the game. This was after beginning the day on a plane and not having any prior practice time with the Rockets (this season at least). So there were people wondering how many minutes he would actually play if any, and how well he would play.
The conclusion? A little bit of a mixed bag. He went 1-10 for 2 points. But 3 or 4 of those misses were right at the rim. But then he also added 6 assists, 5 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 steals in 20 minutes of play.
Lets talk about the assists for a moment, this is nothing new if you saw him play during the post season last year. If you get him the ball in the high post or on the wing just inside the 3 point line, it’s trivial for him to drive to the rim and attract the defense and either score or pass. In this Bucks game, he was able to do just that.
The defense was a mixed bag as well. He got the blocks and steals, but other times he was unable to stop guys from scoring. Although, in fairness… when he’s matched up against Greg Monroe for a lot of his minutes, that might not be the best matchup.
But however good he ends up being on the defensive end. Having him on the roster helps defensively. Currently with D-Mo not 100%, we are kind of forced to play Capela and Dwight a lot of minutes at the 4 and 5. This isn’t exactly a bad thing, but it just means we lack the ability to effectively go small. Smith being on the roster gives us that option.
Other notes: Houston was 15-44 from 3, tying their season high in 3 point attempts with 44. They also set a season high in Headbands with 4 (Lawson, Terry, Brewer, Smith).