Player of the Game: Chuck Hayes – 8 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assist, 2 blocks, 3 steals and stellar defense on the second leading scorer in the NBA. Everyone should know by now that I am a huge supporter of the Chuck Wagon. He is part of the reason why I write for this blog. I think after an incredible performance like this, most haters will start to notice and understand how valuable Chuck can be. I guess Amar’e did end up with the game high- 25 points, but he also lead the game with 5 turnovers, a few of those being key to our momentum late in the game and he also only shot 3-8 from the field in the fourth quater.
Play of the Game: Hard to chose between all the nice strips, hard bumps and consecutive forced turnovers late in the game from #44, so I will give to the long alley-oop connection between Kyle Lowry(18 points 4 assist and only 1 turnover) and Kevin Martin(21 points, 4 assist and 4 rebounds). It reminded me of an old backdoor play we would run with Rafer and T-mac. Tracy would flash in the post and then Dwight Howard spin for the nice alley-oop. On this one, Kyle Lowry found Martin on a slip towards the hoop and threw a long pass from almost half court.
My Thoughts: The first half was described as pick-up ball by Matt Bullard, and it was definitely a shooting contest. That is why it started to scare me when I saw that we were only shooting 32% behind the arc at halftime. Usually we have to be making our three’s in order to show up against a team on the rise, like the Knicks. However, the Rockets were able to hold one of the deadliest offensive teams in the NBA, to less than 90 points and score over 100 for the win. I have to be honest and say it is hard to write about this win without mentioning Chuck Hayes over and over again. He really showed that if you make a superstar work, it makes it hard for everyone else too, including coaches. Kyle Lowry also should be credited for playing excellent defense tonight against Raymond Felton. He was able to hold him to 14 points on 5-14 shooting. Good to see Kyle step it up against a veteran player that is having a pretty good year. Overall, I thought the Rockets played defense the way we have wanted to see them play all year long. The intensity, desire and urgency was all there tonight and every player seemed to do their part. We really need to become the team that consistently plays with this type of passion on defense and not just show up for these big games against superstar talents.
Random Thoughts: Coaches and players all around the league will be watching Chuck Hayes film come playoff time. He could direct/produce his own Better Basketballtapes on how to guard Amar’e and make a fortune.
“He did a good job out there. He does a great job of creating contact and then being able to strip the ball.” Amar’e on Chuck’s defense.
I really enjoy Budinger’s inside game. He is so athletic around the basket and can beat people to the net i mean, basket…
Still waiting on Jordan Hill to stick it to Mike D’Antoni for calling him a “bad” rookie. I really am liking his development this year. He seems to be working hard. How much does Hakeem charge for lessons? I will throw down.