The Houston Rockets pummeled the dysfunctional Kings last night 123-101. As both teams duked it out in the first half, it was Houston’s second half domination (outscored 58-43) that led to their seventh win in the past eight games. In the words of Charlie Sheen, the Rockets kept winning.
It was the Rockets balance on offense that carried them throughout the game. By the end of the first half, seven Houston players had six or more points. Houston finished the game with 53% shooting with nine players scoring seven or more points. The Miami Heat could only dream of this offensive balance.
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This wasn’t your typical Rockets win. If I were to tell you that the Houston’s top two scorers Martin and Scola only managed to put up a combined 25 points, would you believe Houston won by 22? In fact, Lowry, Budinger, and Courtney Lee combined for 58 of Houston’s 123 on 57% shooting. This is great new for Rockets fans and the Houston Rockets future. Aaron who? Shane who? Lowry and Budinger have been scorching hot during Houston’s hot streak and those two are 24 and 22 years old respectively.
The one flaw in Houston’s game last night was their lack of interior defense. This seems to be the case more often than not, but Houston did make adjustments come the second half. In the first half, young Kings center, Demarcus Cousins, managed to put up 20 points in less than 20 minutes. However, in the second half, Cousins…. zero points. Thanks to Adelman’s adjustments, at no point was the second half close. Speaking of Rick, with this win Adelman tied Dick Motta as 10th all-time on the wins list for coaches. Out of the top 10, Adelman trails only the great Red Auerbach and Phil Jackson in career winning percentage with .609. Too bad he only trails them by a combined 20 NBA championship rings.
Come second half, the blowout had begun. As Luis Scola left early in the third with a knee injury, it was Houston’s bench and defense that carried Houston above the .500 mark. Jermaine Taylor, Jordan Hill, and Terrance Williams all played a majority of the fourth quarter in route of the Kings. This made me wondering, where was Hasheem Thabeet? If there was ever a time to let him practice, or let him do anything for that matter, it would be in a 30 point route to one of the worst teams in the NBA? Well, at least Terrance Williams showed his freakish athleticism in plenty of garbage time.
The Rockets add one more loss to Sacramento’s home record (which by the way is an NBA worst at 8-25. Houston improves their record to above .500 (33-32), trailing Memphis by three games with 17 remaining. Tonight, Houston takes on Phoenix in a HUGE game with playoff implications. As Sheen says, “The only thing I’m addicted to right now is winning.” And now we have come full circle.