As the Houston Rockets continue to be outrebounded almost every time on the court, it may be time to give DeMarre Carroll minutes to help on the boards.
In a New York City showdown with the Knicks on Monday, the Houston Rockets finally fell back to Earth. Down by 21 points at one time, even a furious fourth-quarter comeback in which Houston scored 32 points wasn’t quite enough, as they fell 125-123.
The number that sticks out immediately from the narrow loss was undoubtedly rebounding. The Knicks had five separate players with five or more rebounds in the game, led by 16 from Julius Randle and 13 from Mitchell Robinson off the bench.
In total, New York outrebounded Houston by a staggering 31 boards, including an unexcusable 20-8 advantage on the offensive glass. Going into the matchup, the Knicks were averaging the most offensive rebounds per game in the league at 12.1 while the Rockets were allowing the fourth-most with 11.1.
Since the start of micro-ball after the trade of Clint Capela for Robert Covington, the Rockets have been getting away with getting outrebounded more often than not, sometimes ending up on the short end of an extremely lopsided figure by the end of the night. One addition to the team last month, DeMarre Carroll, could be a possible solution to this issue.
For whatever reason, Carroll could not crack the rotation on a San Antonio Spurs team that has been struggling all season, and his time in Houston appears to be trending toward that being the case again. In his debut with the Rockets on February 20th, Carroll pulled down three boards in 13 minutes.
In his two other appearances, DeMarre snagged four boards in 14 minutes and another four in 18 minutes. While these aren’t world-shattering numbers, DeMarre’s 6-6 size combined with hustle and toughness should be reason enough to at least give him some spot minutes, particularly when the team is struggling to control the glass.
Since his last appearance against the Memphis Grizzlies on February 26th, however, DeMarre has tallied up two DNPs.
Carroll had a couple of nice offensive rebounds in his debut against Golden State in which his anticipation and hustle led to second chances:https://videos.nba.com/nba/pbp/media/2020/02/20/0021900825/217/36f088b8-2658-12cd-267e-44e282144d1c_1280x720.mp4
Even without the help of Carroll, the Rockets need to do a much better job of boxing out and gang-rebounding than they did on Monday night. The entire bench unit combined for just three total rebounds, one each from Austin Rivers, Eric Gordon and Ben McLemore.
Playing Carroll some minutes to help on the glass couldn’t hurt. At his size, he doesn’t make the team’s strategy of staying small suffer and has been in the league long enough to know how to commit to boxing out properly.
While he’s not going to light up the scoreboard, DeMarre is eager to show a contending team that he can contribute, and Mike D’Antoni should allow him to do just that.