A little home cooking and some friendly fans helped the Rockets break their 4-game losing streak Wednesday night, beating Golden State 111-101.
Golden State has an awesome crowd which really gives their young team a lot of momentum when they get on a roll. But obviously they didn’t have that Wednesday night in Houston. They also didn’t have David Lee, who has missed the last 7 games, with Golden State losing 6 of them. Now the Warriors have an idea of what Houston has had to go through with Yao Ming being out.
Speaking of Yao, he was on the sidelines in street clothes again, but this time without his walking boot. So things are progressing with him. The earliest we can expect him back is early December, but it will probably be longer than that.
Yao Ming gives Chase Budinger some strategic advice during a timeout against the Warriors. Click here for more photos from the game.
The Warriors encountered early foul trouble when their bigs (Dan Gadzuric and Andris Biedrins) were forced to the bench, and that helped Houston get an early lead. But Golden State kept fighting back, going on runs to chop big leads down to stay within striking distance.
This time, though, Houston didn’t lose a lead in the 4th quarter like they have done so many times this season. They almost did when Golden State cut Houston’s lead to 88-86, but the Rockets responded with an 11-0 run to put the game away.
When you look at the stats, it’s amazing some of the disparities you’ll see. Houston made 11 less field goals (42-31), had 3x less steals (10-3), had about 1/3rd more turnovers (15-11), had 3x less fast break points (25-8), and had 2x less points in the paint (60-30). So how in the world could Houston win this game with stats like those?
It really came down to free throws, shooting 33 more free throws (51-18) and making 27 more of them (39-12). And they hit twice as many 3-pointers (10-5) on about the same number of attempts (20-19) for a 50% success rate. This is about the polar opposite of the same stat categories in the Phoenix loss where Houston had 20 less free throws (30-12) and hit only 23% of their treys.
Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry, who had torched the Rockets in the second game of the season, didn’t kill them this time around, scoring 18 and 21 points, respectively, on a combined 15-of-40 from the field and 8-of-11 from the line. Their 39 points collectively was less than the 46 that Ellis had put up on his own against Houston in their first game.
Meanwhile, Houston’s Kevin Martin continues to be a foul-collecting and free throw shooting machine, hitting 14-of-15 free throws while only making 4-of-12 field goals to score a team-high 25 points. Scoring 25 points on 4 field goals? Incredible.
Speaking of lots of free throws, Chuck Hayes was a machine himself hitting 8-of-8 free throws and 4-of-5 field goals for 16 points. He also had 7 boards and 5 assists. Luis Scola was his consistent self, hitting 8-of-15 field goals for 24 points, although he had the same stat at the free throw line: 8-of-15. Not that great.
And I’ve always said when Shane Battier has a good game offensively, Houston’s chances go up significantly to win. Shane delivered with 13 points on 5-of-11 shooting from the field.
The man who really made the most difference, though, was Kyle Lowry, who is getting back to the Lowry we all know and love by scoring 14 points (4-of-8 shooting), grabbing 7 boards, and doling out 10 assists. His plus-minus when he was on the floor was +20, the highest on the team. He’s beginning to earn his $5 million a year contract he just signed in the off season.
Houston’s bench with Chase Budinger and Courtney Lee has been doing better lately, scoring 9 points each Wednesday night. But it was their 3-pointers that really got the crowd going, with Bud hitting 2-of-4 that hopefully bust his slump, and Lee hitting 2-of-2 from behind the arc. Brad Miller and Jordan Hill hardly played, but it was interesting to hear Rick Adelman say that he really likes playing those guys together since Miller really helps Hill on offense, and Hill helps Miller in rebounding.
For Jeremy Lin fans, Lin got some decent playing time and actually showed some good moves on his way to 8 points in 13 minutes.
– Since I have NBA League Pass, I’ve been watching more of the alternate broadcast (road team coverage) of the Rocket games. Instead of listening to Bill Worrell and Clyde Drexler, I thought I’d mix it up a bit Wednesday night. I have to say the Golden State announcers blows Houston’s away. Worrell and Drexler are just too “light” on in-depth aspects of the game, talking way too much about esoteric fluff that doesn’t have anything to do with the game you’re watching. And they made a huge mistake by saying Jeremy Lin was the first “Chinese-American” player in the NBA, that he played in Yao Ming’s charity game in Shanghai, and continuing to talk about “Chinese” basketball talent. Uh, guys, he’s a TAIWANESE-American, and he played in Yao’s TAIPEI game (there wasn’t even a game in Shanghai, only in Beijing and Taipei). Not that they would even know where Taipei is, so to make it more explicit, Taipei is n TAIWAN. It’s really embarrassing to have announcers like this make such errors showing their ignorance of the world outside the American borders.