Youngsters help Houston Rockets remain unbeaten in preseason
By Tamberlyn Richardson
Houston Rockets second consecutive victory over the Pelicans moves them to 4-0 in preseason.
After 4 games in preseason play the Houston Rockets are unbeaten and are carving out specific trademarks.
First, it’s obvious the Houston Rockets will be among the Associations top offenses. Houston is averaging 126.2 points per game which is tops in the Association.
Second James Harden while not replicating his previous double digit assist efforts in Game 4 clearly has no problems handling the point guard duties.
Next up in their return Stateside the Houston Rockets play the Memphis Grizzlies, Saturday, October 15.
Next: Starters Player Grades
Oct 4, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) on the bench during a game against the New York Knicks at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /
Oct 4, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) on the bench during a game against the New York Knicks at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Mike D’Antoni could have tipped his hat with the first signs of who has earned his respect beyond the core players. KJ McDaniels and Nene Hilario sure look like they’ll be consistently the first guys off the bench along with whichever of Eric Gordon or Patrick Beverley don’t start. It’s hard to argue this decision given McDaniels defensive prowess and offensive growth along with how fit Nene entered camp and his strong passing ability.
Starters Player Grades:
Next: Youngsters Shine
Mar 24, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Kyle Wiltjer is interviewed during practice the day before the semifinals of the Midwest regional of the NCAA Tournament at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
D’Antoni went to his youthful core for a good portion of the game with several stepping up and producing. In addition to the 3 players highlighted Bobby Brown produced a solid effort (though his off court adventures didn’t do the Houston Rockets any favors.
Next: Best Opponent and Game Stats
Oct 1, 2016; Bossier City, LA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans guard Buddy Hield (24) and forward Anthony Davis (23) and guard Tim Frazier (2) and guard Lance Stephenson (5) walk onto the court after a time out against the Dallas Mavericks during a game at CenturyLink Center. New Orleans won 116-102. Mandatory Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports
It could have been worse, but losing Anthony Davis to a twisted ankle as well as E’Twaun Moore leaving early to an unknown injury weren’t ideal scenarios for Alvin Gentry. It did offer an opportunity to get a better look at more of the training camp invites and reserves.
There were other notable performances on the opposing side including Langston Galloway and Cheick Diallo, Langston Galloway and Dante Cunningham.
On a side note I”m pulling for Diallo (pronounced Jello) to make it because I like him, but also because I can’t wait to hear the announcers say his name.
Houston Rockets jumped on the Pelicans early grabbing a 31-14 lead by the end of the first quarter and finished the half with a 59-34 lead. The Pelicans made a concerted effort in the fourth quarter to draw closer, but this one was over early.
As the Rockets now fly home for a date with Memphis on Saturday look for D’Antoni to continue tinkering with line-ups. Furthermore expect to see Kyle Wiltjer and other training camp invites get some additional minutes while the brain trust decides what they will do.
Clearly the main objective of the Rockets once back in America will be ironing out Donatas Motiejunas contract. Resolution is key to getting all the team on the court or moving forward to fill his roster spot.