The Rockets continue to roll, beating the 76ers 105-84 in a game that wasn’t that close Monday night. At one point the Rockets held a 41-point lead, which the reserves blew in the fourth quarter, getting outscored 33-16.
Van Gundy wasn’t happy about how the bench played after the game was a moot point.
“The fourth quarter is totally unacceptable. That’s why I never want to hear somebody else tell me they want to play more.”
But he lightened up a bit after that.
“I want to see guys play well. That’s all I want to see. I want to see with my eyes that guys are improving. But that fourth quarter isn’t going to get me sideways from the core group playing good basketball through three quarters.”
Indeed, the starters played exceptional. 31 assists as a team. T-Mac hitting 8-of-14 shots for 25 points. McGrady easily could have scored more, but he sat out his second straight 4th quarter. It’s nice to see him get rest when it isn’t induced by injury.
Juwan Howard (20 points on 10-of-15 shooting) hit jumper after jumper from the top of the key that he seems to make so incredibly well. It just reminds me how much damage he could have done to the Mavericks a couple of seasons ago during that Mavs-Rockets playoff series when he was sidelined because of a heart issue. If he had been able to play and hit those shots, that series could have had a completely different outcome.
Rafer Alston finally had 50% shooting! 5-of-10 for 12 points, plus nine dimes. If he continues to shoot like that, look out league!
The best compliment came from 76er Andre Miller after the game.
About the Rockets’ chances come playoff time.
“They’ll be at the top and give anybody a run for their money.”