November 23, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets small forward Chandler Parsons (25) reacts after a play during the third quarter against the New York Knicks at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Rockets: Chandler Parsons Will Be Key vs. LA Lakers

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When people talk about the Houston Rockets this season most of the attention is on James Harden and Jeremy Lin.  Both players deserve a lot of the credit for Houston’s early success but Chandler Parsons has played a pivotal role and deserves just as much credit.

Tonight, Houston will get a chance to jump above .500 when they host the Los Angeles Lakers.  Lakers will be playing without Steve Nash (who has not played since Oct. 31) and Pau Gasol, who recently has been criticized for his play in Mike D’Antoni’s system.  Parsons has played well against LA this season where he posted a team high 24 points the last time the two teams went head-to-head.

The biggest surprise this season has been Parsons ability to score. He is second on the team in scoring by averaging 15.9 points per game while shooting 48.4 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from three.  His size and unique ability to dribble and penetrate the paint gives opposing defenses headaches.

Parsons court vision is outstanding for a 6’9’’ forward.  He is averaging 3.5 assists per game but that doesn’t equate to the number of baskets the Rockets get because of his passing.  If the NBA kept track of hockey-assists, I believe Parsons would be one of the league leaders.  He is an unselfish player that keeps the ball moving which is every head coach’s dream.

For the Rockets to win tonight, Parsons will have to come up big offensively and defensively.  With Gasol out of tonight’s game, he will have to drive the lane early to try and get Dwight Howard in foul trouble and by doing that, his perimeter game will open up.  He will do much of the defensive work on Kobe Bryant also, which he has shown in previous matchups that he is more than capable of doing that.

You won’t see Parsons on the cover of ESPN Magazine and you won’t see much of him on the highlight reel, but if you watch the game, you will see that much of this team’s success rides on the play of 38th overall pick in the 2011 draft.

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