With no CP3, the Houston Rockets came out with energy and won a statement game. The contributions all around were great as the team starts a tough stretch in the schedule.
Wow. What a win! The Houston Rockets started off their Chris Paul-less streak by winning a huge game against the rival San Antonio Spurs. In a game that could’ve gone south quickly, the Rockets hung in there and took advantage of a hot third quarter to take the victory 108-101.
The Spurs came into this game on a hot streak that saw them win five of their last six games by 25 points or more. The Rockets needed to step up on both ends of the court, but especially on defense. They did just that and it paid off big time.
As expected, James Harden had to step up with the absence of Chris Paul. He certainly didn’t have the most efficient night (35.3%), but put up an absurd 34 shots and made 7 shots from deep to help the Rockets win. He also limited himself to just 3 turnovers, a number low for his season average of 5.4.
He also came up clutch when he was needed the most. He drained a clutch 3 in the last couple of minutes and also got fouled on another, a classic Harden closeout performance. He led the team in plus-minus by far with a +14 and put up 39 points and 10 assists.
The rest of the team stepped up big time as well. Clint Capela posted another 20-20 game with 21 points and 23 rebounds. His rebounding, along with P.J. Tucker (16 boards), helped the Rockets win the battle on the glass 58 to 43.
Gerald Green continued his good stretch off the bench, putting up 15 points (despite the inefficiency) and hitting 5 shots from downtown.
Gary Clark played just 9 minutes, but he had an impact with a huge 3 to conclude a 43-point third quarter. He may see more minutes during this stretch without CP3.
Overall, it was an awesome and statement win by the Rockets! It was much-needed as they go into this difficult stretch. If they play like they did tonight (with maybe a bit more efficiency), they should hardly skip a beat until they get their star point guard back.