These Rockets are one fun team to watch and tonight was no different. The Rockets played their last game at Toyota Center until the home opener and they failed to disappoint the home crowd. The Rockets were at full strength and looked good in stretches of tonight’s game. Let’s take a look at the Rockets 100-95 win against the Dallas Mavericks.
Tonight was the first time we were able to see the Omer Asik/Dwight Howard combo and it was a less than promising showing. Dwight Howard was playing the PF spot and was on Dirk Nowitzki during those times. The main idea of the Rockets going with the two bigs at the same time is to provide elite defense and rebounding, however the Rockets seemed to give up way too many baskets in the paint. Tonight was Asik’s first playing time so his rust is expected, but so far the experiment isn’t looking to great. The Rockets are much better offensively with Howard in the post and the ability to kick it out to multiple shooters at any time.
James Harden lead the team in scoring with 19 points in 24+ minutes of play. Harden shot 6-9 from the field including 4 3-pointers though he did commit 7 turnovers. Dwight Howard had his best preseason game yet going for 15 points and 17 boards with 3 steals and a block. The Rockets went with Jeremy Lin to start the game at PG and he finished with 6 points and 8 dimes. Chandler Parsons contributed 7 points and 8 boards while Asik finished his first preseason game with 4 points and 9 boards.
The Rockets bench continues to shoot well from the outside. Francisco Garcia hit 5 3-pointers and had a good defensive game as well with 2 steals and 2 blocks. Patrick Beverley lead the team (again) in +/- with a +16 in just under 27 minutes. Omri Casspi had 10 points and 4 boards as the Rockets used an 8-man rotation most of the night. Greg Smith saw his first playing time of the preseason late in the 4th and had 4 points and 1 rebound in limited action. Aaron Brooks secured the win with 8 points in his 6+ minutes at the end of the game.
The Rockets still have a few things to work on with two preseason games remaining. Entry passes continue to be a big problem for all the Rockets. Howard is posting up and his job is to correctly seal his man from the defender whereas the Rockets passer needs to find the correct angle and window to feed Howard. The Rockets also need to figure out who is their starting PF come opening day. The Asik experiment has so far failed and others like Terrence Jones, Donatas Motiejunas, and Omri Casspi don’t seem like capable starters for the whole season. Will Greg Smith end up with significant playing time at PF? We will find out shortly.
The Rockets travel to San Antonio for Thursday’s game against the Spurs. You can catch the game on CSN Houston or TNT at 7:00 PM.