Terrence Jones played the Utah Jazz better than Ron Burgandy played the jazz flute (if that’s possible) as the Rockets cruise to an easy win.
Yeah it was pretty easy tonight. The Jazz have given the Rockets trouble this season but tonight the only trouble was keeping Francisco Garcia from killing John Lucas III when a brief shoving match occurred at the close of the game.
Dwight Howard had a “minor ankle sprain” and sat this one out. In reality they were just giving Dwight a break against a Jazz team that was clearly overmatched. Which was perfectly fine with me because that meant Omer got to remind us all what the 2012-2013 Rockets looked like, and mmmmhmmmmm, fine as hell.
The Utah Jazz have a lot of problems on both sides of the ball. The most prominent in my mind is the perimeter defense that actually manages to be worse than what the Rockets put on display most nights. They have no size at the guard positions and outside of Gordon Hayward they can’t stay in front of anybody. They have invested high draft picks and I’m sure lots of their time on developing a strong front court but the Jazz big men were helpless defensively as well. The Rockets ran the pick and roll repeatedly, as they tend to do, and Enes Canter or Derrick Favors were constantly out of position or lazy in recovery so the Rockets just strolled up to the basket for easy layups.
The Rockets shot the ball very well from all over, shooting 58% and 13-25 from behind the arc. They out-rebounded Utah 46-34 and assisted on 31 of their 46 baskets, so yeah, it was a good night. The starters hit the bench towards the end of the 3rd quarter and the fourth quarter was all garbage time. And for the record, our garbage lineup won the 4th quarter 32-17.
There is maybe 3 or 4 more things worth talking about so I will discuss them in my new and poorly titled section called…
Things That I Thought Were Cool About Tonight’s Game
Ode to Omer, Circa 2012
Big O played his tail off tonight in his ninth start of the season. He played 28 minutes which was only a few short of his average from last year and he was sucking wind pretty hard through most of it. He was completely locked in on defense each time I had the chance to specifically hone in on him. The most prominent moment coming when he came over from the weak side to block a dunk attempt from Jeremy Evans. Right after rejecting the shot, he immediately looks to locate his man and set himself back up for the next defensive set.
Something that I think Howard needs to take notice of is the way Omer sets screens. I went looking for video examples but unfortunately there wasn’t much to be found. There is a decent example from tonights game that you can find here.
You see how Asik lingers for just a second and then also makes himself a little bit wider by bending at the waist a little bit. I’m going to call these As-piks (ash-picks). The example in the video isn’t as prominent or as much fun as some of the other As-piks but it was effective none the less. They gave me violent flashbacks to the 2012 season and how Omer would go out past the three point line to give Harden or Lin the chance to get a full head of steam going into the paint.
Howard obviously has his own set of skills and his ability to finish an alley-oop off a PnR is something Omer can only dream of. But Dwight is usually so concerned with getting in position for his offensive opportunity that he bails on the pick early despite the fact that his pick could be much more effective if he would hold his ground just a beat longer. Omer is also bigger than Dwight and creates an object that is harder to traverse.
Obviously both the Rockets’ centers do a nice job but I would like to see Dwight integrate a few of Omer’s As-piks and see if this adds another wrinkle to our half court offense.
Brent Musburger made “news” during an Alabama game last year when he fawned over AJ Macarron’s smoking hot girlfriend Katherine Webb. This quickly launched Webb into faux stardom as her Twitter following jumped from a couple thousand to over a hundred thousand in a matter of hours. And although I don’t think it will have the same effect, Bill Worrell likes to similarly fawn over the lovely Leila Rahimi, which juuuust tickles me. I’m not saying Bill is a creepy, but this song does play in my head every time he does it.
TJ had a star level game tonight. With Dwight on the bench Terrence did his best impression going for 30 points on 11-15 shooting and 4 blocks. His finishing skills are impressive.
Patrick (Red Bull?) Beverley
The Red Bull thing comes from an article over at Grantland that was determined to give Pat a nickname. The article itself is pretty ignorant, and clearly composed by three guys who have watched a couple Rockets games between them, but the unfortunate thing about the name is that I like it. I just wish it didn’t come from an article as uneducated as this.
Anyway the reason I brought Pat up was because there was one play in particular that I think embodied him tonight. Omer throws up a desperate fall away as the shot clock expires and there are two Jazz players underneath the basket who have TJ pined on their hip. No way is TJ getting the ball, Omer fell out after the shot, the other guards had headed back the other way and the ball was going to fall right into the Jazz players hands but Patrick Beverley still decided to come from the three point line and just take a pass by the play. Like a shark swimming by a diving cage just in case the diver would inexplicably swing open the cage door. The Jazz player bobbles the rebound for just an instant and Beverley snatches it out of his hands and lays it up. He literally never relaxes and Red Nation loves him for it. He is always looking for opportunities to capitalize on mistakes, and tonight he walked away from the game with a stomach full of diver.
The statistical nitty gritty is here.
The Rockets do it again on Thursday at 7PM CST against the Timberwolves.