Houston Rockets Preseason Observations vs Indiana Pacers
The Houston Rockets lost to the Indiana Pacers 110-100. Here are a few observations from the game.
Starting 5: Chris Paul, James Harden, James Ennis III, Carmelo Anthony, Marquese Chriss
Inactive: Clint Capela, Nene
Final Score: Houston 100 – Indiana 110
Guards: Although they didn’t shoot it particularly well tonight, Chris Paul and James Harden were their normal selves, facilitating the offense in the pick and roll and taking advantage of mismatches with isolations. Harden led the Rockets in scoring with 17 points and he also led the team in assists with 10. Paul finished with just 6 points and 5 assists after a very strong showing in Houston’s first preseason game against Memphis.
Eric Gordon started off slow offensively, stopping a couple fastbreak opportunities opting for isolations that led to a few missed shots and turnovers. Gordon picked things up in the second half however draining a pair long-range jumpers. He finished with 12 points.
Michael Carter-Williams played very well, being active on defense and driving strong to the basket. Carter-Williams also had a few great fastbreak drives including a highlight reel dunk. MCW finished the game with 15 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists.
Carmelo Anthony moved very well off the ball setting screens, moving to open space, and knocking down his opportunities from deep as well as his signature pump-fake one dribble pull-up. Melo finished with 16 points and appears to be gelling well within Houston’s offense.
James Ennis III played great defense and ran the floor extremely well. Ennis initiated a lot of fastbreaks by pushing the tempo and making strong drives to the rim.
Marquese Chriss started in place of Clint Capela, Chriss flashed his athleticism at times with his blocking and leaping ability but was caught out of position on defense often and was out-muscled for rebounds. Chriss also was called for several moving screens and missed more often than you would like your big to around the rim including a missed dunk (Chriss led the NBA in missed dunks during the 2016-2017 season).
Isaiah Hartenstein took advantage of the extra minutes in Clint Capela’s absence, setting good screens and finishing well around the rim as well as showcasing his touch from behind the arc. Hartenstein has been making a lot of extra effort plays creating turnovers on defense and offensive rebounds.