Houston Rockets – Jeremy Lin & James Harden Led by Chandler Parsons

Not for the first time in the last couple of weeks, and not for the last time if Kevin McHale gets his way, the Houston Rockets show that defense isn’t an ugly word for them, and that Chandler Parsons can continue to lead this team in scoring while James Harden and Jeremy Lin enjoy not being the focus of the offense once in a while.

It’s now quite a race for the Rockets in the final month or so of the season, as the Los Angeles Lakers are breathing down their neck for that 8th playoff spot. Luckily for them, the Utah Jazz are falling apart, and the Golden State Warriors, losing to the Rockets for the third time this season, are also headed in the wrong direction, losing the tiebreak in their Rockets’ rivalry if that becomes important at some stage. If Houston keep on winning it shouldn’t matter.

That’s important. I actually didn’t even think about the tiebreaker until today. But at the end of the day, if we don’t take care of business from now until then we can forget about the tiebreaker.

Games against the Warriors bring out the best of Lin, despite not shooting lights out as he did in previous games against them. Still, he scored 15 points and added 7 assists in the 94-88 win, even showing that defense isn’t that out of touch for him to do well, with Stephen Curry scoring 24 points, but having a harder time than usual with his shooting game. Lin is averaging 19 points against Golden State this season.

Chandler Parsons continues to be the focal point of the offense for the Rockets, which is probably just fine with James Harden, who isn’t scoring as frequently as he did earlier in the season, but that makes it possible for their high paces offense an excellent spreading around the perimeter to become much more effective, and for Harden to show just how good of a passer he is, adding 11 assists after a horrible 3-17 day from the field. Parsons led the way with 26 points on 9-13 from the field and 6-8 from beyond the arc, averaging 25.5 points per game in March.

We definitely had some positive steps in our defense. On the road, playoff-atmosphere game, it shows the type of camaraderie we’ve got and the kind of togetherness we’re building.

The Rockets kept the Warriors, in a rivalry that might be growing into something more if the two young teams continues to grow in the coming years thanks to the 140-109 win by the Rockets earlier this year, at 37.9% from the field, despite shooting even worse themselves. They forced 16 turnovers and showed that at least against some teams, even scoring under their usual pace can be enough to win if their defense is good enough, making it very hard for the Warriors to make or even get easy shots.

We’re a young, streaky team and it was really important for us to come out and get this win. 

Earlier this season, the Rockets were too reliant on the scoring ability of James Harden. Now, even when he has a terrible shooting night (making up for it with his getting to the line ability, better than anyone in the NBA), the Rockets can prevail, having more than one weapon to seal the deal.

Image: Source