It’s too early to tell if James Harden and Jeremy Lin will go down as a legendary back-court duo that made big things happen for the Houston Rockets. Harden is definitely on the right path, while Lin isn’t doing too bad as well. In probably their biggest win of the season, it was about everyone playing well, not just them.
It’s still a question, a few hours after the Rockets handed the Utah Jazz their greatest home loss in history, beating one of the best home teams in the NBA 125-80. Their previous low was a 126-93 loss to the Bucks on November 18, 1980, whether Houston were that good or the Jazz were that bad. Usually, it’s somewhere in between, but knowing the Rockets this season, despite coming out of their funk, it probably had more to with the Jazz stinking up the place.
We could have had Michael Jordan in his prime with us tonight . and it wouldn’t have mattered. It was like everything went wrong. They came ready to play. I don’t know where our energy was.
On the other side, the Rockets were simply relentless from the first moment. James Harden and Jeremy Lin kept pushing, until there was no need for them on the floor, so Toney Douglas and Carlos Delfino were in charge of keeping the pace at a level that kept the Jazz too discouraged to try and make any sort of comeback.
It was just fun because everyone was getting involved. And it was right from the tip. We wanted to emphasize transition defense and taking care of the ball. We did those two things beautifully tonight and played unselfish. Everyone was just having fun out there and it’s a lot more fun to play that way.
Fun and pace seemed to be the key words for the Rockets, who led by 21 points in the second, by 35 in the third and kept pushing it in the fourth against their broken opponents. The Rockets haven’t won consecutive away games in over three weeks, and the 80 points they gave up was their best defensive effort all season. The Jazz shot at 39.5% from the field, turning the ball over 15 times, allowing 26 points off fast breaks for the Rockets.
James Harden scored 25 points on 28 minutes, making it his fifth consecutive game of over 23 points and he’s averaging 27.2 points per game since the Rockets ended their losing streak and maybe even more importantly, shooting 50% from the field. He reached the line only 8 times, making all of his shots, after going 26 times in the previous two wins.
Jeremy Lin had a nice quiet game, going 5-5 from the field, finishing with 12 points and 7 assists. Since the Rockets have found the amazing art of spacing the floor, Lin is averaging 8 assists per game (over the last 3), scoring 13 with 52% from the field.
That’s the way we have to play. We have to play with pace. We have to move the ball. The ball can’t get sticky. It’s got to go from side to side. And guys just got to make plays.