After a long trip overseas the Rockets made their way back to Toyota Center to face the Magic. The Rockets looked sluggish throughout the game and fatigue was clearly a problem early on in the game. Jeremy Lin left home before the game because he was feeling ill and Chandler Parsons was given the night off as well. Omer Asik and Greg Smith continue to work their way back to full strength and didn’t play tonight.
James Harden continued his hot preseason as he scored 21 points in just under 18 minutes of action. Harden shot 7-12 including 4-6 from 3-pt land and 3-3 from the charity stripe. Dwight Howard had 8 points, 4 boards, and 3 blocks in just under 18 minutes as well. Harden and Howard both did not play the second half of the game.
Francisco Garcia, Omri Casspi, and Patrick Beverley all started alongside Harden and Howard. Garcia scored 11 points and went 3-5 from three in over 25 minutes tonight. Casspi’s strong preseason took a halt tonight as he shot just 2-10 (2-7 from three) for 6 points though he did add 6 boards and 5 assists to his line. Beverley continues to prove he would be a quality option at starting point guard. Beverley scored 13 points (4-7, 2-2 from 3) and added 9 boards and 3 assists. Beverley’s rebounding numbers were especially amazing considering that 6 of his 9 rebounds were on the offensive glass.
Off the bench the Rockets were mediocre. Terrence Jones had 10 points and 2 rebounds and fellow bench-mate Ronnie Brewer had an and-1 fast break layup for his only points on the night. Donatas Motiejunas added 14 points and 8 rebounds but was just 1-5 from behind the 3-pt line. Aaron Brooks contributed 9 points and 5 assists from off the bench. Reggie Williams made his Rockets preseason debut and scored 9 points (3-8, 1-5 (3), 2-2 (FT)). Williams may be on the outside looking in at this point.
Rookies Robert Covington (12:00) and Isaiah Canaan (5:54) both saw the court tonight. Covington scored 4 points including two big free throws to ice the game with a second left in the fourth quarter. Canaan was held scoreless though had an impressive eurostep to the basket before he got blocked.
A Few Thoughts
- The Rockets will need to work on their entry passes to Howard. A few too many lobs allowed defenders to make plays on the passes.
- Beverley should be the starting PG on opening day.
- Neither Casspi, Jones, or D-Mo made a strong case for starting PF.
- Casspi has solidified his roster spot on the team.
The Rockets will have four full days to recover from their long trip overseas as they face the Dallas Mavericks on Monday, October 21st at 7:00 P.M.