Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports
It was ugly for most of the game but the Houston Rockets pulled out their 18th win of the season, beating the New Orleans Hornets 104-92.
It came down to the Rockets getting easier buckets as they outscored the Hornets by 32 points in the paint. It took Houston until 6 minutes left in the game before they started to pull away behind James Harden and Patrick Patterson.
Harden finished with his 11th 30-point game of the season. Once again he ran the show for the Rockets offensively. His teammates struggled throughout the first half and most of the second but his free-throw shooting and easy layups helped pad the lead a bit. Harden was also a playermaker as he finished with 7 assists.
Usually when you think of Omer Asik having a big game you think of being defensively and on the boards. But tonight it was different as he tied his career high with 21 points on 8-14 from the field and 8 rebounds. He got multiple and-1 chances and capitalized on most of them as he was 5-8 from the line.
Chandler Parsons finished quietly with a double-double as he racked up 10 points and 10 rebounds in 33 minutes.
Patrick Patterson looks to be healthy once again as he was a big part of the Rockets win tonight. He clutched up big time in the fourth quarter as he finished with a double-double off the bench as he scored 15 points on 7-8 shooting and brought down 10 rebounds in 22 minutes.
Jeremy Lin also had a solid game offensively as he finished with 9 points and 7 assists. He did struggle defensively as he allowed Greivis Vasquez to torch him for the second time this season as he finished with 15 points and 14 assists. Lin also needs to start driving to the hole more offensively. He’s showed time and time again he’s better when he’s playmaking from inside the paint.
Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers were virtually no-shows in tonight’s game, more so Rivers, who finished shooting 1-5 from the field, 1-3 from downtown and an awful 1-6 from the line. Davis is a great defender and rebounder, but he really needs to work on his offensive game. He plays as if he’s a superstar already when that is definitely not the case.
The Rockets winning should be no surprise. Houston is by far the better team and need to build off this win after struggling against the lesser teams. For most of the game they played down to their competition instead of playing their game.
If you take away the losses to the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs the Rockets are 18-9. Not bad for a team that was expected to finish at the bottom of the Western Conference.