Houston Beats Heat without Dwight
Houston won an unusual game in which Howard was suspended, Capela was out with an injury, and Josh Smith started at Center. For Miami, Whiteside was out with an injury as well, so the game was small ball on both sides.
The first quarter went about as expected with both teams scoring 31 and shooting well north of 50% from the field. But the key to the game was the Rockets defense afterwards. In the other 3 quarters, Houston held Miami to less than 40% shooting from the field and 17 turnovers overall.
Dragic had 12 points in the 1st quarter, mostly scoring early in the shotclock, but was held to just 2 the rest of the game. Amare had 10 in the first, but finished the game with 14.
Houston’s D mostly consisted of switching on everything, and guys like Smith and Jones were able to get enough stops against guys like Wade, Dragic and Winslow on the switches. And of course vice versa for the guards on bigger players.
Then on the offensive end, things went about as expected. Harden had an efficient 26 point 14 assist game. Smith set a season high with 19 points on 8-13 shooting. Thornton off the bench had 18 on 7-11 shooting.
-Houston had 11 turnovers in this game. They’ve been on a weird stretch of low turnover games since switching to the small ball line-up. With only 1 of the last 8 games having more than 13 turnovers (we average somewhere around 16). Hard to say that makes the team better because they’ve lost 4 of those games.
-Houston jumped out to a 14 point lead early in the 3rd, and Miami chipped away at it to get it down to 2 midway through the 3rd. It was strangly similar to how the first game against Miami went down where we had a double digit lead and eventually lost by 20, except Houston was able to build the lead back up and put the game away midway through the 4th.