Houston Rockets – Jeremy Lin & James Harden Finish What Dwight Howard Started

Jeremy Lin, James Harden

For quite some time, it seemed like the big man duel between Dwight Howard and Anthony Davis was going to decide the outcome of the game between the Houston Rockets and the New Orleans Pelicans. However, Jeremy Lin seemed to be saving his best for the fourth quarter, and with quite a lot of help from James Harden pulled their team away for the victory.

The Rockets came away with the 107-98 win, making it a second consecutive come from behind win in the final minutes of the game, with Harden and Lin being the men mostly in charge for the comeback. Lin was having a very rough game, entering the fourth quarter scoreless. However, he hit a layup to open the quarter and was hard to stop ever since, finishing the game with 10 points and 5 assists, during a very good job in finding Howard whenever he got himself an advantage in the paint.

James Harden was a lot more wasteful than in the previous game, which reminds everyone of his usual self. He did score 21 points (11 coming in the final quarter), but shot an awful 1-of-7 from beyond the arc, as the Rockets continue to struggle with their outside shooting, this time finishing with 6-of-26 from long range, despite having what is seemingly a long list of capable shooters at their disposal. However, the Rockets made three of five 3-point attempts in the fourth quarter after going 3 of 21 from long range in the first three quarters.

We didn’t shoot it well. I know at one time I looked up, I thought we were two for 19 from the three-point line. It felt like they made every three. They were 10 for 22. We found a way to win, but it was another in a long line of games that feel like you are pulling teeth.

Dwight Howard held the pieces together for most of the game. While Ryan Anderson and Anthony Davis were leading the charge for the Pelicans, Howard finished scoring 24 points on 10-of-12 from the field, also adding 18 rebounds. There was the stain of 8 turnovers, but there’s no doubt the Rockets are going through a shift in their game, which includes playing a lot more like a team instead of a one man show. A lot of times that means insisting on finding Howard in the paint and making him the focal point of the offense instead of Harden.

This has a lot to do with Jeremy Lin in the lineup, or Patrick Beverely out of it to the same extent. James Harden isn’t doing whatever he wants with the ball, and even on bad shooting days for Lin, his ability to find open players and create shots for others is the best the Rockets have when it comes to the players occupying the point guard role. One cannot help but mention Chandler Parsons putting up another impressive performance with 19 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists.

It was interesting to see Lin actually thank Kevin Mchale for keeping him in the game despite his bad shooting night. It might tell us of a change in attitude from the coaching staff towards Lin, or this might simply be them going with what they have, still thinking that Patrick Beverly is the better player for this team, despite every piece of evidence suggesting that he’s not.

It’s definitely not the ideal plan or ideal strategy. I’m thankful Coach McHale let me keep going. I was able to finally get a little bit of a rhythm in the last two games. I have to do a much, much better job and be more aggressive in the first three quarters.

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