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Houston Rockets keep rolling with win over Pelicans – Player Grades

Jan 25, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) drives between New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) and forward Dante Cunningham (44) during the second quarter of a game at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 25, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) drives between New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) and forward Dante Cunningham (44) during the second quarter of a game at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
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Is it me, or do the Houston Rockets look like a team with championship aspirations again! After one of the most convincing victories of the season, the Rockets were back in action in the Big Easy, as they took on Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans on the second night of a back to back series.

Although the Rockets jumped out to an early 12-point lead, Houston is still guilty of falling back into bad habits which they did by allowing New Orleans to come back and take a two point lead at halftime. However, unlike previous games the Rockets never hung their heads and opened up the third quarter on a 18-0 run. Even with Davis leaving in the second quarter (concussion), the Pelicans battled back and made this a nail bitter as the lead see-sawed back and forth even late into the fourth quarter.

Thanks to James Harden and Trevor Ariza down the stretch, the Rockets held on to win their third straight game in a row.  Things are looking up for the Rockets who should only improve once Dwight Howard returns from his ankle injury.   

69. . 112. 169. 111

Rockets Player Grades

B-. After he was dominated by the no name rookie Salah Mejri last game, Capela had a much better night in New Orleans. While playing against a defensive minded center in Omer Asik, Capela had a solid night scoring in the paint. As well as keeping the former Rocket big from dominating on the glass. Over all good game for Capela. Perhaps, playing against Dwight Howard every day in practice is starting to pay off. 10 points, 5 rebounds.. C. Houston Rockets. CLINT CAPELA

A+. Perhaps player benefiting the most from Bickerstaff’s small lineup change in recent games is Ariza. During the first quarter, he put on his best Stephen Curry impersonation shooting 85.7 percent from the field, and was a perfect four for four from behind the arc. Not only did Ariza have a great start to the game offensively, but held Pelicans’ All-Star Anthony Davis to four first quarter points. The best part about Ariza’s first half performance, it carried over into the second. By far the best night of the season for the 2009 NBA Champ! 31 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals, 1 block, (8-11) from the arc.. SF. Houston Rockets. TREVOR ARIZA

Not sure what to make out of Brewer’s performance night. After his 13 point game against the Mavericks Sunday, I was really disappointed in his lack of efficiency against the Pelicans. Could have played a lot better. 5 points.. SG. Houston Rockets. COREY BREWER. D

A+. Chef Harden was back in the kitchen, and cooking up a big pot of seafood gumbo in the Big Easy! Another night, another MVP Performance for the beard!  Although his night started off quietly, Harden made enough noise during the second half when Houston needed him the most coming just 2 assists shy of a triple-double. After the Pelicans battled back and made this a nail bitter for Rockets fans, Harden turned up the heat in the kitchen, and carried Houston to their third straight win in a row. MVP! MVP! MVP! 35 points, 11 rebounds, 8 assists.. SG. Houston Rockets. JAMES HARDEN

In his second game back, Beverley is starting to pick up where he left off before his injury. However, I wish he was more effective this game. Especially on defense. For the self-proclaimed “Best defensive PG in the league” he allowed Jrue Holiday to score 32 points off the bench. Unacceptable! However, when the Rockets needed him late in the fourth, Beverley was effective on both ends of the court. With a key defensive stop, followed by a clutch three point down the stretch. 11 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists.. PG. Houston Rockets. PATRICK BEVERLEY. C+

Best Reserve

C. Basically considering his first half performance, Thornton was the best player for the Rockets’ second unit. He shot four for five from behind the arc in the first half, and was the second highest scorer behind Ariza. Unfortunately, Thornton disappeared in the second half, and no one else off the bench stepped up to pick up the slack. 12 points.. F. Houston Rockets. MARCUS THORNTON

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Best Opponent:

New Orleans Pelicans. JRUE HOLIDAY. A. While many though Anthony Davis would have been a thorn in the Rockets’ side, Houston had no answer for Jrue Holiday this game. With one of his best games of the season, Holiday reminded fans why his name was once consider among the elite point guards in the league. Unfortunately, due to injuries Holiday’s game has fell off a bit, but he can still be a nightmare for Pelicans opponents on any given night. 32 points, 6 rebounds, 9 assists, 3 steals.. PG

Next: Ranking Rockets All Time Point Guards

Make sure you catch up on our entire Team Preview Series, our Houston Rockets Player Profile Series as well as our SCS Round Table Sessions to help you get through the early season. Start your morning with SCS Rocket Science Daily and visit us throughout the day to keep abreast of all your Houston Rockets news and updates.

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