Houston Rockets vs. T-Wolves: Bench production is a necessity


The Houston Rockets playoff run started this past Sunday and ended with a pronounced thud, a win that was barely earned by the seat of their pants. This team found a way to be victorious but it was far from graceful and it’s certainly something that needs to change.  Let’s take a look as to why.

The Houston Rockets 104-101 win in Game 1 was quite surprising to me in terms of performance.  Although I didn’t expect this to be a blowout win, I certainly thought there would be more a concerted effort out on the hardwood from these guys.

The match up that I was concerned about the most turned out to be the most fruitful of the bunch.  What one do I speak of?  It’s certainly the one between Clint Capela and Karl-Anthony Towns.  Capela OWNED the paint one defensive end and he challenged each defender he undertook.  He ultimately won the battle and for that I’m proud.

Let’s compare stat lines for grins and giggles:

Capela:  24 points, 12 rebounds, three blocks, 10-for-15 FG (66.6 percent), 4-for-4 FT and +/- of 7

Towns: Eight points, 12 rebounds, one block, 3-for-9 FG (33.3 percent) and +/- of -1

We obviously know who won this battle and I imagine Capela was dreaming about this match up in his sleep.  I had envisioned that this would happen but was concerned if he was going to step up when the team needed him the most, provided nearly 23 percent of the team’s meager offense this past Sunday.

This is a contract year for Capela and with him having the opportunity to showcase his talents on the largest of stages, I’m positive that he won’t shirk it all for naught.  We just need to continue to see that intensity each and every game through to the culmination of the postseason, hopefully with the Houston Rockets on the receiving end of a Larry O’Brien trophy to add to the case.

But I had to get that off my chest ya’ll…

Now to what I was getting at.  The bench must step up tonight for this team, their role is just as critical as the starting five of Chris Paul, James Harden, Trevor Ariza, P.J. Tucker and Capela.  Their

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performance was absolutely pathetic versus the output of the T-Wolves bench.  If we want to get through this series quick and to have a pronounced sense of pride going through these games, they must display significant improvement.

Between Harden’s 44 points and Capela’s 24 points, the rest of the team combined for the remaining 36 points scored for this team.  CP3 did underwhelm for this game as I expected to see more but I’m sure that this is player that more due for a bounce back because he was brought in here for a reason, to ensure not too much of the load was put on Harden.

But that simply wasn’t the case because the Beard recorded 40 minutes of action.  We need to see

dominant, productive performances from Eric Gordon, Gerald Green and Nene Hilario who all were afterthoughts in that game.  Each of them combined for a paltry 16 points to the T-Wolves’ 38 points from their bench.  Gordon and Green were a combined 1-for-10 from three, shooting at a 10 percent clip from behind-the-arc.

Just think if all of these guys were locked in, Sunday’s game would’ve been easily in the bag.  We can’t give excuses in regard to Ryan Anderson‘s and Luc Mbah a Moute‘s availability.  It is what it is.  You have to go out and win with the tools you have, sucking it all up.  This team can do this and I’m sure this is at least a minor focal point that Mike D’Antoni has discussed during the two-day break.

Next: Three things to watch this postseason

But I’m faithful things will turn around and this will all be water on the bridge.  But until I see it, I have to call it and that’s what I’ve done in my entire life watching this team.  You better tell somebody!

And I’m spent — go Rockets.