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McDaniels unleashed against former team in victory

Just another comfortable win against a horrible team. There really isn’t much to talk about. Houston struggled a little in the 1st quarter, falling behind 27-21 and making it another game in which they trailed after 1.

But Houston collected themselves and took a comfortable lead going into the half (61-52) and really the only scary moment was when Philly went on a 13-0 in the 4th to bring the lead to 3, but Houston was able to respond quickly with a run of their own and the game was never in doubt after that.

Speaking of the 1st half, JB Bickerstaff went deep into the bench early. D-Mo had early foul trouble, so we saw Montrez Harrell check in midway through the first and logged 7 minutes during the game. It seems like Josh Smith is out of the PF rotation for now as he didn’t see any play. Beasley checked in toward the end of the 1st, and again in the 2nd half and got 9 minutes of playing time.

McDaniels however, was perhaps the biggest story of the game. Coming in in the 2nd quarter and scoring 10 points, including a monster putback dunk at the end of the half. He would go on to get serious minutes in the 3rd and finish the game with 12 points on 3-4 shooting (and 6-6 from the FT line).

The question that comes to mind is why? Harrel and Beasley’s playing time can be attributed to the lack of consistent production (and health) from our PFs. But McDaniels is the weird one. This is probably the first meaningful minutes he’s gotten this season.

Maybe JBB decided to try the young guys out more against an easier team. It isn’t an argument that I would personally make though because we’ve had recent struggles even against bad teams, and with every win critical I doubt he would potentially throw a game away to give the younger guys some run.

I suspect what happened was McDaniels probably has started to impress in practice. Maybe that’s part of the reason why we were so willing to cut Thornton. It seems like this always happens around this time of year. You guys might remember a few years ago Terrance Jones suddenly logging a lot of minutes in March and April games after not seeing time during the year. Or even as recently last year we saw Capela start to log minutes in April to end the year before earning the backup C job in the playoffs.

If this is the case, then it’s going to be exciting to see how much McDaniels can contribute going into the stretch run of the season.

Other notes:
-Harden 29-9reb-8ast, Howard 21-18, Beverly 16-4reb-5ast-3stl. Weird to not talk about the great play from these 3 until now, but against Philly it’s hard to get excited about things like this.
-Houston played solid defense on Philly, holding them to 41% shooting and forcing 19 turnovers. Again… this is a bad team, but Houston hasn’t been able to even consistently play good D against bad teams this year so I’ll consider this a positive.

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