It looks like the Twin Tower starting lineup that included both Dwight Howard and Omer Asik will take a rest, at least for now. While Houston Rockets coach Kevin McHale didn’t specify how the new lineup will look, the next 2 games includes teams who start smaller lineups.
The Philadelphia 76ers, who the Rockets play Wednesday night, start 6’8 Thaddeus Young at power forward, while the New York Knicks will most likely start Carmelo Anthony at the 4-spot in Thursday night’s matchup at Madison Square Garden.
Playing both big men was an experiment that the Rockets had hopes for, but the lack of spacing on offense has been a cause for the recent slow starts. Howard opened up about what it’s like to play alongside Asik in Rockets shootaround on Wednesday:
“We just got to learn how to play together, it’s tough. It’s something we got to get used to. We’re learning each other’s games. I’m learning where he likes the ball when I drive. I like it at times. At times, it’s great for our team. At other times, you’ll see a more traditional lineup where he might come off the bench. But we all have to sacrifice something. For us to be a successful team and for us to win a championship, it’s about sacrifice. I’ll do whatever. If coach wants me to play the three, I’ll play the three. It’s something we both have to get adjusted to. The focus for me is our team getting better on the defensive end. The offense will come. We have a lot of guys who can put the ball in the basket, a lot of guys who can make plays.”
To give some insight on just how much of a struggle offensively it has been for the Rockets with Howard and Asik in the game together, the team scores 25 more points per 100 possessions with just either one of them in the game than when both players are on the floor together, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:
Numbers are overwhelming. Rockets roughly net 25 pts per 100 possessions better with 1 center on floor than 2. Better for rare occasions.
— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) November 13, 2013
This could mean that Terrence Jones, who played 32 minutes in the Rockets win over the Raptors on Monday, may see some extended minutes in the next couple of games.