Three Things We Learned From Houston Rockets Win vs. Wizards


The Houston Rockets are returning home after splitting their mini Eastern Conference road trip games with a loss against the Brooklyn Nets and a win against the Washington Wizards.

Last night’s game featured a rather disorganized Rockets on the defensive side, much due to Trevor Ariza‘s absence. Despite that, James Harden managed to redeem himself after a bizarre exhibition against the Nets and lead the Rockets to a 109 x 103 victory dropping 44 points and grabbing 9 rebounds in the process

From the Wizards side, John Wall and Marcin Gortat were the highlights but at the end of the game, the team lacked firepower with Bradley Beal struggling from beyond the line and Gary Neal failing to repeat his strong last performances. 

Here are the Three Things We Saw at the Verizon Center.

Rusty D-Mo – Is it too soon to be worried?

Donatas Motiejunas has just came back to the Rockets rotation last week. Literally. The Lithuanian big man was sidelined for 8 months after a back injury interrupted his strongest season in the NBA.

D-Mo had improved so much last season that Houston Rockets fans expected him to be one final hope to make this squad work and propel Houston up the standings.

Instead fans were presented with an incredibly rusty, out of rhythm player that is committing silly mistakes and fouls.

The questions must be asked: When is it okay to be worried? Should Motiejunas even have returned to the rotation without enough practice?

Last night Motiejunas scored his first two points this season and showed us his technique on the post remains top notch.

Good to see this from Captain Hook.

— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) December 10, 2015

Nevertheless he couldn’t  stay long on the court as he had a sequel of fouls and soon reached 5. Motiejunas played for just 8 minutes but committed 3 turnovers, 5 fouls and a handful of violations such as three-seconds in the key, travels, etc..

Yes it is still early on for us to expect anything grand from Captain Hook. However with fans eager for the Rockets to return to their winning ways there are already some of them buzzing about D-Mo’s current form.

For all those wanting answers already, all we have to say is: Patience. Motiejunas didn’t lose his skill set in a matter of eight months, he is not dead weight or spent. There are new rotations in place, a new coach, new plays. For Motiejunas to acclimatize with everything it will take time, therefore fans must remain calm and be tolerant.

It’ll be worth it down the line.

Corey Brewer slowly cementing his recovery

If someone were to ask me Houston Rockets biggest disappointment this season, right off the bat I’d say Corey Brewer – even before Ty Lawson.

It’s astonishing how Brewer dropped from last season’s form to this one. Brewer was even considered by some as a Sixth Man of the Year candidate. This year fans are eager to send him out of Houston.

And let’s be honest, with averages of 7.8 points, 2.6 rebounds, but especially with field goal averages of 25% from the three and 34% from the floor there’s not much to argue.

It gets worse if you compare with last year’s 11.9 points, 3.8 rebounds and averages of 42.9 from the floor and 28.4 from the three.

But in the last two games Corey Brewer is showing us something resembling last year’s edition and more. He has an average of 18.5 points, 5 rebounds and whopping 41.7% from the three-point line and 53.6% from the floor.

Off course we don’t expect Brewer to retain this kind of level every night (we sure wish he would though!) but he is at least showing desire and drive to get better – and that is a solace for Houston Rockets fans right now.

James Harden can’t be Denied… sometimes.

Take a look at the tweet below.

James Harden: 6th 40-point game of the season last night He has the most in the NBA over the last 2 seasons

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 10, 2015

We’ve argued before in Space City Scoop that such dominance from Harden is actually hurting the team. I believe the Houston Rockets are caught between a rock and a hard place in this situation.

When Harden doesn’t perform it’s almost a certainty the Rockets will lose – i.e.: Brooklyn Nets game. However, when Harden drops 40+ it’s also not a sure thing we will win. The balance between both things I believe is the recipe for Houston’s success.

Harden had 42p/9r/7a/2st/2bl: first Rocket to reach those numbers since T-Mac at Dallas on 12/2/04.

— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) December 10, 2015

Until we find that, unfortunately I think the Rockets are poised for a mid-table season.

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