Three Things We Learned From Houston Rockets OT Victory vs. Knicks


What a crazy game last night. After sitting in the backseat for most of the game, the Houston Rockets managed to push the game into overtime and grind out a much needed win over the New York Knicks at the Garden. The 116-111 victory came despite great performances from Arron Afflalo and Kristaps Porzingis.

Here is what we learned from the disputed affair.

Taking Care of The Ball

At last, the Houston Rockets seem to be learning how to take care of the ball as the Rockets had a season low 8 Turnovers against the Knicks. At the same time the Rockets had a ridiculous number of 16 steals that contributed to the Knicks 23 turnovers.

It goes without saying that no matter how poorly you play if you don’t turn the ball over and if you take care of your possessions you’ll be there by the end of the game. The Houston Rockets are struggling with turnovers since last season and if reducing them is something J.B. Bickerstaff is bringing to the table then there’s absolutely no worries the Houston Rockets are in good hands for the long run.

Defense ➡️ Offense.

— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) November 30, 2015

Twin Towers Impact

I can’t stress this enough: Clint Capela is currently the best player not named James Harden on the Houston Rockets team. We already knew his impact on the defensive end modifying shots when he goes for the block. He is also the best rebounder on the team and last night grabbed 5 offensive boards.

Now with the recent promotion to the starting lineup and his partnership with Dwight Howard we are seeing all of Capela’s offensive potential. Although Howard didn’t play well last night his presence in the paint draws attention from the opponent that in itself is great as it opens up a lot of opportunities for Clint Capela to score.

That was really one perfect solution found by the coaching staff. Capela deserves the starting gig and Howard is a star: playing them both together is certainly a benefit for their development as players but it’s mainly a blessing for the team.

Check out the play below as Capela rolls to the basket but still Robin Lopez and Porzingis mostly remain cautious about Dwight’s position:

The Capela hustle is real.

— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) November 30, 2015

New Rotations

I was tempted to highlight James Harden’s awful performance against the Knicks, but as per Jonathan Feigen he was actually battling a cold, therefore I will cut him some slack. Instead let’s reflect on coach Bickerstaff’s new rotations.

First and foremost the highlight of the night was Ty Lawson‘s first DNP CD (“did not play – coach’s decision). I’m not sure what Bickerstaff has in plan for Lawson in the future, but right now he is perhaps trying to restore last year’s stability with guys that built chemistry together in the backcourt.

Then there is  Marcus Thornton,  again I’m not sure how he fits Bickerstaff’s long term rotation, but going forward if the Rockets improve and he keeps playing the way he is, I wonder if he could be eligible for sixth man of the year. He brings a much needed spark from the bench and when he gets hot there’s no stopping him.

The clutch 3 by Marcus Thornton that sent this game into OT.

— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) November 30, 2015

Last but not least we finally got to see K.J. McDaniels even if for only 5 minutes. It’s evident that Corey Brewer is struggling and should have his minutes reduced at least in the interim. Ideally K.J. could take advantage of a restructure allowing him some consistent playing time and become another weapon for the team. Let’s hope his minutes become more consistent, otherwise the Rockets are wasting a young talent by keeping him tied to the bench.

Next: Sideline Chirps: Rockets Struggle and More

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