J-Smoove Turns Clutch in Playoffs:
Round 1 vs. Dallas Mavericks:
Perhaps the most surprising event of this season for Houston Rockets fans was the manner in which Josh Smith rose up to play in the post season. Looking back he not only improved his overall stats, but repeatedly he was the catalyst to taking over games, especially of the elimination variety.
He had his coming out party in Game 2 of the first round Dallas series. We were treated to a demonstration of the chemistry acquired in his high school AAU days with Dwight Howard. Though we’d seen signs of it in the regular season it was truly the first time we saw just how connected the two are. Repeatedly Smith hoisted up lobs for Superman to slam. By game end he had come close to registering a triple-double with 15 points, 8 rebounds, 9 assists, a steal and a block.
It felt like after that game the Rockets had literally sucked all the energy out of the Mavericks. This was also the game Rajon Rondo exited to never return, even on the bench of the Mavericks. This highlighted perhaps GM Daryl Morey’s one-up-man-ship of owner Mark Cuban who famously grabbed Rondo just prior to Morey adding Smith.
Next: A New Clutch Star Emerges