This is the part where we begin to go on a streak, get confident with complacency setting in, and then we lose a game. Otherwise, known as a trap game. I’d love to say the guys play up to the competition and that they know the Rockets are the real thing, but I can’t yet. Not until they show their focus tomorrow.
Fact: This is the new look Houston Rockets, who are stocked with tweeners that can run and gun. Not to mention they love pushing the ball upcourt, and are playing with an offensive system that emphasizes open shots over the shot clock.
Game time: 11 Jan 2013, 1130hrs AEDT
Watch on: Good old NBA League Pass
1. Wilcox is still out with his thumb injury (sprained ulnar collateral). He will be testing his wrapped thumb during practice to gauge recovery.
2. Fab Melo is still not cleared for full contact practice after his recent concussion (walked into a doorway).
First things first, no easy fast break points. This means hauling ass back on D. Transition D is very important, we need to get stops, not give up baskets the effortless way. We got kicked in the face last game simply because they ran us into the ground, it cannot happen again.
Next order of business: dribble penetration from Lin and Harden. Both of them are very, very capable of taking it in and finishing with contact. If Bradley is on one of them, will Lee or Rondo be up to the task? I like the way Lee’s hustle gear is running right now, but Rondo has been a little off on his defense, as is the case during season play. (Pretty sure JET will save his legs for offense, so no mention on defense.) Improved perimeter defense will decrease the amount of help needed from the big guys, which means less of those open-guys-under-the-basket shit.
Third, no open shots. The Rockets will look to drive and dish for the open three, and they have a ton of guys who can make it. Parsons, Harden, Lin, Delfino, Jones, take your pick. Run them off the shot, make them drive, and collapse on them.
Fourth, defensive boards. Contain the second chance points, get the rebounds and deny Asik. Yes, he of the 11.1 rebounds (3.0 offensive) per game (this is where Sully comes in). Get on the run and score some of our own. Turn the tables on them, make them foul on the layup. Green, Lee and JET are running very well now, and I’d love to see more bench scoring.
Stay focused on the goal, lock down the defense and continue the streak. We can win, but it’s not going to be an effortless one.