Rockets News

Rockets Win in OT, Smith Brilliant in Debut

By Tamberlyn Richardson
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169. 111. 211. . 117

Tomorrow’s headline is likely to read: Rockets win in OT, Smith Sparkles in Debut:

In tonight’s  Southwest Division showdown the Rockets battled back from a slow start and early foul trouble to win in overtime.  With this victory Houston overtake Memphis as the division leaders and third place in the West.

Josh Smith was brilliant in his debut, making GM Daryl Morey look like a genius in back to back games.  In one of the best games we’ve witnessed this season Houston overcame a quiet night from Howard and witnessed an early hint of what type of damage this newly reconstructed team may be capable of moving forward.

THE STARTERS

A+. Since joining the  Rockets Harden has posted his worst scoring games versus Memphis averaging just 18 points per game. Tonight he jumped out to a quick start repeatedly attacking the paint and was rewarded with 11-free throws.  He finished with 32-points, 10-assists and was just 2-rebounds shy of a triple double. . SG. Rockets. JAMES <STRONG>HARDEN</STRONG>

B+.  <strong><br /></strong><p>We were told pregame Beverley may not play given he was feeling under the weather, but he’s a gamer, so it was no surprise to see him start the game. He finished with 12-points, 4-rebounds and 5-assists in 34 minutes. More notable was his defense on Mike Conley as he held the point guard well below his season average with just 11-points </p>. PG. Rockets. PATRICK <STRONG>BEVERLEY</STRONG>

SF. Rockets. TREVOR <STRONG>ARIZA</STRONG>. A.  <strong><br /></strong><p>Ariza may want to buy a late Christmas gift for General Manager Daryl Morey as he appears to be the main benefactor in both new additions. Brewer allows him to get additional rest and the presence of Smith gives him more freedom on the floor and also provides an able passer who can get him wide open looks in the corners.</p><p>In addition, when Smith is on the court with Ariza he isn’t weighed down to crash the boards for rebounds which moving forward may result in more transition leak outs. His shot looked pure tonight and he finished the game with the same energy he started it. He also posted a double-double of 15-points and 10-rebounds. </p>

D. <p>Whether it was the size of Gasol, the nervous actions of a player who will be relegated to the bench with the signing of Smith or the fact he had trouble adjusting to playing with the new personnel it was one of his poorer showings. With Howard picking up two early fouls Demo was playing beside Smith and the result wasn’t pleasant. Moving forward the fact he’ll face other benches now should allow him to excel. </p>. PF. Rockets. DONATAS <STRONG>MOTIEJUNAS</STRONG>

C. Rockets. DWIGHT <STRONG>HOWARD</STRONG>. C. <p>Marc Gasol got the better of Howard right from the tip hampering Howard with 2-early fouls. He finished the game with just 6-points, 11 rebounds and zero blocks, but in a strange turn the big man who had missed all his free throws in regulation made 4 of 4 in the overtime frame.</p>

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THE BENCH

JOSH <STRONG>SMITH</STRONG>. A+. Like Brewer before him Smith’s debut was vindication GM Morey had made a great move. He did put up a bad air ball that missed everything however his 21-points, 8-rebounds, 3-assists and plus +15 were more than anyone could have reasonably anticipated given Smith hasn’t even gone through a practice with the team yet.<p> </p><p>The main thing which stood out is how quickly the ball moves with Smith on the court because of his ability to pass. Though he registered just 3-assists if you go back and re-watch the game look how many times he initiated a pass that lead to the score. Like Howard he isn’t a great free-throw shooter but he nailed both in the extra frame and grabbed back to back offensive rebounds that in my opinion were the difference in the win. </p>. PF. Rockets

COREY <STRONG>BREWER</STRONG>. B. We didn’t get the same offensive explosion as his debut, but we can still see how much his energy picks up the team the minute he enters. He had a couple of bad air balls but ended with 13-points and made the bench players on the court with him better.<div class=. SG/SF. Rockets

Terry specifically benefits from Brewer’s presence since he provides increased defensive intensity and the constant threat of a Brewer steal allows Terry more open looks and freedom of movement on the court. Moving forward the Rockets Bench who have been cellar dwelling in almost every category become significantly better with Brewer.  With the addition of Smith and Motiejunas joining the reserves it’s reasonable to assume their bench stats will experience a rapid ascent.

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B

We didn’t get the same offensive explosion as his debut, but we can still see how much his energy picks up the team the minute he enters. He had a couple of bad air balls but ended with 13-points and made the bench players on the court with him better.

Terry specifically benefits from Brewer’s presence since he provides increased defensive intensity and the constant threat of a Brewer steal allows Terry more open looks and freedom of movement on the court. Moving forward the Rockets Bench who have been cellar dwelling in almost every category become significantly better with Brewer.  With the addition of Smith and Motiejunas joining the reserves it’s reasonable to assume their bench stats will experience a rapid ascent.

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