It’s hard to find a single thing to complain about in such a blowout win for the Houston Rockets. James Harden didn’t have to do too much while Terrence Jones stood out above the rest in a fantastic game, while the best minutes came when Jeremy Lin was on the court.
A lot of garbage time, a lot of points. The Rockets blew the Utah Jazz out of the water in a feel good win to build some confidence up after some painful and possibly avoidable losses under some better coaching. The Rockets won 124-86, as Jones led the scoring with 30 points, 5 rebounds and 4 blocks, as the Rockets found it very easy to get open shots, shooting 58.2% from the field, 52% from beyond the arc and scoring 58 points in the paint, including 30 points on fast breaks.
James Harden played 27 minutes, which not all of them were the best for the Rockets (+11). He did have a couple of nice assists to Omer Asik, starting for the injured/resting Dwight Howard, but got most of his 15 points by doing what he usually does – taking shots that have nothing to do with basketball: No ball movement, just Harden going one on one for a hard two in the paint or a tough three point shot. It worked this time, but when defensed play better than the farce the Jazz are at the moment, it gets harder to get by on selfish basketball.
Patrick Beverley had a good game with 19 poitns and 7 rebounds, shooting 6-of-9 from the field. Asik finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds, probably his best game this season and quite a nice confidence builder against Derrick Favors, who isn’t getting too much help from his Jazz teammates at this stage of the season, not doing much to get out of the last place in the Western conference.
Jeremy Lin finished with 17 points and 9 assists with 7-of-10 from the field. He had the best +/- in the game (+31) and while the Rockets didn’t really struggle with him off the court, it was hard to ignore how good and efficient they looked, not to mention playing beautiful basketball, when he was on the floor, playing as a point guard(!!!).
This won’t change anything the moment games get harder. James Harden will get his minutes, and with them Lin will return to being someone who either sits on the bench most of the game or waits in the corner for Harden to be gracious enough to find him there. A waste of talent and time. The Rockets are a better team when the ball moves, and players move with it. When they force defenses to shift and think, instead of simply waiting for Harden to either take a player into the paint, or try and find a way to dribble his way out of trouble, sometimes dumping the ball to other players, especially Howard or Parsons.
These games are great for stats and numbers, but also show us of a different, alternate reality and basketball the Rockets can be playing nightly if there was just a bit more appreciation for Jeremy Lin and what he knows to do. Sure, James Harden can still be the leading star of this team and scorer, but putting the ball in hands to make all the decisions throughout the game leads to losses more times than any of the head figures would like to admit. Lin will cherish this excellent performance, because it’s likely it won’t really help him expand his role for the team.