Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Recap: Houston Rockets 117- Philadelphia 76ers 123

Rockets East beats Rockets South in another OT contest.

I would lead off by saying, WHO THE HELL IS JAMES ANDERSON?!? But those of us who watched last year know exactly who he is.  The Rockets cut him in order to make room for Dwight Howard. He has bounced around the NBA mostly sitting at the end of the bench but I guess tonight he wanted to tell the Rockets that they should have paid him all that money.

This game kind of feels like getting beat by your little brother; your extremely athletic and active little brother. With Harden and Michael-Carter Williams both out we knew someone would have to step up on each team, and step up they did.

Before I get to the play by play I am going to put out some general thoughts so that they don’t end up clogging up the recap. As always the recap will mostly have description of the play not the listing of stats but the box score is at the bottom.

General Thoughts:

  • Chandler Parsons is terrified of his own shot. He is going to dislocate his shoulders from throwing up is pump fake so much and he passes up open shots constantly. To Chandler’s credit he has made that fake so good that defenders can’t seem to stay on the floor and Chandler will go right by them for a layup or turn it into a “savvy veteran move” and draw the foul.
  • Much of the night we ran the offense through Dwight Howard and it worked pretty well. He was recognizing double teams and either attacking before they could set or passing it out to the perimeter where the ball movement was good for most of the night.
  • Terrence Jones had another eventful night. He played more big minutes and spent his night as a stretch four or a five in the small ball lineup that saw some burn. He hit a couple threes while still contributing plenty down low. That was an extremely good thing because Omer was only out there for five minutes and he did not fair well against the 76er’s athleticism.
  • CONFIDENT LIN WAS BACK FOR AN ENCORE. Absolutely played his ass off. It really is an awesome luxury to have him be able to step in and mostly fill Harden’s role when we need him too. Those late game pick and rolls are the only time where you felt Harden’s absence. Jeremy wasn’t slicing and dicing like Harden would have but without his effort the Rockets wouldn’t have even been in this game.

 

The Skinny:

So you ask, “If all that stuff above happened, then why did we lose?” Good question anonymous reader I hope to enlighten you with the following tale.

In the first quarter the Sixers led with a defensive game plan that could have really killed the Rockets. They played a 2-3 zone and would double team Howard anytime he touched the ball. However Howard like I said above, Howard was intent on not letting the double team beat him. Lin, Patrick Beverly, and Terrence Jones all busted the zone to pieces with their 3-point shooting. About half way through the quarter Brett Brown, the Sixers’ coach, switched it to man to man and let me tell you, it felt glorious. The only problem was that the Sixers didn’t feel like missing either and the quarter ended with a rockets lead at 31-28. Both teams had shot over 50% and you thought oh that’s cool how Anderson is having a nice game (7pts 4-4), good for him. However Mr. Anderson would soon drive a wedge between our fake friendship.

Asik started the second quarter but didn’t stay long as Dwight Howard played almost 20 minutes in the first half. The ball movement was great and the offense was working. Honestly the Rockets played pretty well but as was the case for most of the night, so did the Sixers.

The thing about the Rockets defense is that the initial attack made by the opposing offense is usually turned away by Howard, but we don’t secure the rebounds in time to prevent second chance buckets. The Sixers had 20 second chance field goal attempts, and that turns some great interior defense into average interior defense. As far as I can tell the fault lies in the hands of the other four Rockets on the court. In the future they will need to account for their man and clean up the boards behind Howard.

The Sixers did Hack-a-Howard towards the end of the half but Howard made them pay for it and the Sixers continued to shoot well from all over. Half ends with the Sixers on top 60-57.

The third quarter brought with it a lineup we hadn’t really seen yet. It was the small ball lineup with Cassipi and Jones at the 4 and 5. The defense continued to suffer but Jeremy Lin (7-11 on 3s) and Chandler Parsons WENT OFF for a combined 23 points in the quarter and the Rockets led 90-80 going into the fourth.

The fourth quarter was yet another nightmare.

Things went back and fourth and with five minutes left Howard spins in a beautiful looking hook and Beverly follows up with a steal and coast to coast take to give the Rockets a 100-91 lead.

At this point James Anderson had a career high 26 points and thanks to our awesome editor’s pregame tweet, Anderson decided to take it to a whole new level.

With 18 seconds left, Beverly puts the Rockets up three with two clutch free throws and the Sixers have time for one last play. Sixers swing it around, Anderson ends up with it at the top of the key and falling to his left he jacks it up with Lin right in his face and of course he drains it. We go to overtime 106-106. Anderson finished regulation with 34.

The defense didn’t get any better as the Sixers scored 17 points in just 5 minutes and for some reason at this point we started treating Parsons like a point forward and ran our offense through him. Lin and Howard tried to keep us in it but our offense sputtered and the Sixers came away victorious in yet another game that the Rockets should have held on to.

For the statistical knitty gritty see the box score here.

But those are just my thoughts, what are yours? Leave them in the comments.

And it’s ok Yoni, we forgive you.

Tags: Houston Rockets

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