The Houston Rockets kicked off NBA action for the 2019-20 season with a 140-71 victory over the Shanghai Sharks on Monday and had some standout performances.
While not playing their full roster due to injuries and scheduled maintenance of superstar Russell Westbrook, the Houston Rockets appeared to be having fun on the way to a dominant 140-71 win over the Shanghai Sharks. It was made clear from the getgo that Coach Mike D’Antoni was emphasizing picking up the pace for his team, as they raced off to a 36-14 first-quarter lead.
The Rockets also started off sharing the ball well, particularly James Harden, as he continuously pushed the pace whenever possible and found teammates in transition for easy buckets. The Beard out-assisted the Sharks singlehandedly in the first quarter, dishing out seven in nine minutes of action.
The second quarter didn’t get any better for the Shanghai Sharks, as it seemed for a stretch that all five Rockets on the floor had the hot hand. Houston would use a 15-rebound and 16-assist advantage to take a commanding 77-34 lead into the locker room at the half.
In the second half, the Rockets seemed to pick up their game even more in all aspects, as they pushed the lead all the way up to 72 at one point. Chris Clemons had an impressive showing in his 18 minutes off the bench, which will be discussed later in the bench grades.
While obviously the competition wasn’t nearly at the level the Rockets will be facing this season, it was still nice to see the team working together so well and being strong together as a unit. Mike D’Antoni will certainly be happy with how his squad looked on Monday in all aspects of the game.
In the two areas D’Antoni has stressed need the most improvement over the summer, rebounding and picking up the pace, Houston was superb. The Rockets finished with 67 rebounds compared to Shanghai’s 34 and 32 fast break points to Shanghai’s 10.
While the team as a whole played an excellent game, how did each player do individually?
Next: The Starters