For once, Patrick Beverley showed up on offense not to mention hitting the biggest shot of the game, but there’s no consistency to his game, so while he might have been the hero of the 115-112 win over the Phoenix Suns, the Houston Rockets and especially the two stars, James Harden and Dwight Howard, are going to be sorry if the renewed misuse of Jeremy Lin becomes a daily thing.
It was a big three pointer for Beverley with 34 seconds left in the game that gave Houston a 113-108 lead that the Suns couldn’t bounce back from. Goran Dragic had a chance to hit a three pointer with Jeremy Lin breathing down his neck just before time expired, but the Slovenian missed and the Rockets went back to their winning ways in another inconsistent performance from the players and their head coach.
The Rockets started strong (30-16) in the first quarter only to lose the next two by 24 points, giving up 77 points in the process. Beverley might be getting minutes because of his defensive abilities, but both Goran Dragic and Gerald Green torched him through the game, not to mention doing the same to James Harden. Dragic had 30 points as he almost scored at will (14-of-20 from the field) with Green adding 23 points, being a little bit less accurate.
The Rockets were led by Dwight Howard with 25 points, not really facing any real opposition in front of him under the basket, adding 9 rebounds and 2 blocks on 10-of-12 from the field. James Harden was perfect from the line and finished with 23 points, but he also shot pretty badly from the field while turning the ball over four times, adding 7 assists while playing 42 minutes. Beverley had 20 points on a good shooting night, but those are usually followed by bad offensive performances.
Jeremy Lin? He has to do the best with his minutes, often playing out of position and with the weaker unit. He finished with only two points on 1-of-6 from the field, missing most of the fourth quarter before McHale began his in-out substitutions and flipping him and Howard. Lin had six assists as the Rockets looked mostly good during his minutes, but he was on the court for only 20, as it seems we’re back in the spot where the coaching staff ignores his ability to be the team’s most important player and best ball handler.
Houston weren’t awful defensively all game long – they allowed only 19 points in the fourth quarter, making an impressive come back from 10 points down (83-93) to get back on the winning track. However, this was another one of those games when it felt that it had more to do with random players ability and focus than actual a systematic, coach influenced win.
Lin was the colder hand in this game, and Beverley playing in the final quarter as the second guard next to Harden paid off, barely. However, the Rockets seem to ignore past mistakes and put themselves back on the track that got them into their worst patches this season, which is a lot of hero ball and simply hoping that the lineup they wish to work better all the time instead of focusing on the combination that actually worked on a more consistent level. One game, isolated, isn’t revealing of the whole picture. As Alexander Lowen said, No one is exempt from the rule that learning occurs through recognition of error.