The Rockets did something Friday night they hadn’t done all season long: win a game after winning an even bigger game. In other words: not have a letdown.
Two days after beating the Lakers, the Rockets went to Memphis for another test of their mettle. That’s because on 3 different occasions this season they had let us down, not showing up when we thought they had turned the corner. Remember these games?
– Nov. 7th – Houston blows out Minnesota for their first win of the season, then loses to a bad Washington Wizard team
– Nov. 24th – A big win against Golden State to stop a 4-game losing streak, followed by a bad loss in Charlotte
– Nov. 28th – A great victory against Oklahoma City, then blown out by Dallas
The Rockets finally delivered with a win after a big win by beating Memphis 127-111, scoring more points against Memphis than any other team had done this season. And they did it in ways that we had seen with other great Houston teams: amazing 3-point shooting (16-of-23 for 70% shooting) and shooting overall (60% for the game). We know these are fluky stats that we won’t see again anytime soon and will just come out of the blue, especially since coach Rick Adelman didn’t even expect it based on this post-game quote:
“You’re always going to be surprised when you have an offense run like that, especially when we couldn’t make a shot in shootaround. So, maybe we saved it for the right time.”
What they DID get that’s more sustainable over the long-term were performances from players we have expected great things from this season.
Kyle Lowry scored 28 points against his former team, hitting 11-of-15 from the field and 4-of-5 from 3-point land for 28 points. Hitting 4-of-5 is incredible considering Lowry had only made 8 of 31 shots (26%) from behind the arc for the season. He balanced out that long-range shooting by scoring 12 of his points in the paint. Lowry also had 12 assists, which tied his career high.
Kyle Lowry scores two of his career-high 28 points against the Grizzlies. Click here for more photos from the game.
Lowry’s backcourt mate Kevin Martin delivered with numbers we expected from him when he was acquired: 28 points on 11-of-15 shots, and 5-of-6 on three-pointers. Getting 56 points from your backcourt is reminiscent of what the great teams in the NBA can get.
Brad Miller proved how great of an acquisition we thought he would be with 23 points on 7-of-7 shots, including 3-of-3 from long range. There’s not much more you can ask from your backup center in just 24 minutes of play. Luis Scola was a solid 6-of-11 for 15 points. Courtney Lee had one of his best games of a Rocket, hitting 7-of-9 shots for 16 points. Even former Grizzly Shane Battier had another great game shooting following up his awesome game against the Lakers with 12 points on 4-of-8 shots, making 2-of-3 three-pointers.
The only player left out of the party was Chase Budinger, who was just 1-for-5 from the field for 3 points. But in the long run, these things tend to even out, and there will come a day where Chase will bail out his teammates with hot shooting like Lowry and the other players did Friday night.
Having passed the test of winning a game after a big victory over a team like the Lakers, Houston fans are now looking to see if the Rockets can do it again, this time against Chicago on a back-to-back facing one of their toughest match-ups in the league: Derek Rose, who lit them up for 33 points last time. Carlos Boozer is also back in the line-up, but the Bulls have lost 3 of their last 4 games. Fortunately, Kevin Martin has averaged 26 points in his last 3 games in Chicago.