Memphis Grizzlies vs. Houston Rockets: Postgame Grades and Analysis for Houston

Maxwell OgdenCorrespondent IIIDecember 22, 2012

Memphis Grizzlies vs. Houston Rockets: Postgame Grades and Analysis for Houston

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    In a battle of Southwest Division foes, the Houston Rockets dismantled the Memphis Grizzlies. Led by an up-tempo offensive attack, the Rockets won by a score of 121-96.

    It was the first time in 23 games that Memphis allowed at least 100 points.

    James Harden guided the Rockets, dropping in 31 points and eight assists. Jeremy Lin was right behind him with his fourth double-double of the season.

    As for the way it all went down, the following grades will offer insight into just that.

Jeremy Lin, Point Guard

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    Overall Grade: B+

    Jeremy Lin is finally looking comfortable with the Houston Rockets.

    From a production standpoint, Lin deserves an A. He posted his fourth double-double of the season, putting up 15 points and 11 assists.

    Lin would track down an additional six rebounds, two steals and one block.

    He'd also commit just two turnovers and connected on all four of his free throw attempts.

    While James Harden may steal the headlines, it was Lin who deserves recognition. His +/- of plus-18 speaks volumes to what Lin was able to achieve.

    Now let's talk facts.

    Six of Lin's 11 assists came with the game out of reach during the fourth quarter. 11 of his 15 points came during the first half.

    In fact, Harden had more assists than Lin through three quarters.

    This is not to sell Lin's efforts short, but instead to continue my objective critiques.

    Lin remains inconsistent with his level of aggression. This is not to state that he is incapable of reaching the proper pace, but Lin appears uneasy with "stepping on toes."

    Until he provides a more consistent effort in dictating the pace of the game, my grading will be harsh. Not because of bias, but because he should be doing more.

    In time, he'll show that.

James Harden, Shooting Guard

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    Overall Grade: A+

    James Harden had his best game of the 2012-13 NBA season. Including his first two outings in which he averaged 41.0 points per game.

    Allow me to explain.

    Harden managed to score more points than he played minutes, putting up 31 in 30. He also managed to tack on eight assists, two rebounds and three steals with a +/- of plus-14.

    His standout moment came during the third quarter when Harden intercepted a cross-court pass and finished in transition. This sparked a 30-14 run in just an eight-minute span.

    Harden scored 13 of those points.

    So what separates this performance from the rest?

    Not only was Harden playing one of the NBA's elite teams, but he was matched up against Tony Allen. You know, first-team All-Defense Tony Allen.

    The wide-spread choice for the moniker of "best perimeter defender in the NBA."

    Even still, Harden scored 31 points on 9-of-13 shooting. He connected on all three of his three-point field-goal attempts and made 10 of 12 from the charity stripe.

    This is a perfect grade performance.

Chandler Parsons, Small Forward

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    Overall Grade: B-

    Statistically speaking, Chandler Parsons was average. He tallied just seven points, four assists and three rebounds on 3-of-7 shooting.

    Even with a +/- of plus-14, the numbers don't blow you away.

    The reason Parsons has earned himself a B-, however, is the way he played defensively. Specifically, the fact that he made Rudy Gay a virtual non-factor in Saturday's game.

    In an up-tempo style of play that favors Gay's athletic ability, the former UConn star couldn't do a thing.

    In their first meeting, Gay finished with 21 points and seven rebounds. This time around, however, Parsons smothered the potential All-Star.

    Six points and four turnovers on just six field-goal attempts. If you can do that to a borderline elite scorer, you're doing something right.

    Something very right.

Marcus Morris, Power Forward

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    Overall Grade: B+

    Marcus Morris is yet another player whose grade is about far more than statistics.

    With that being said, Morris posted a solid stat line. He dropped in 16 points and two blocked shots on 6-of-8 shooting and three three-pointers.

    Six of those points came on a three-pointer and and-one during the opening three minutes of the fourth quarter.

    That, alone, could be considered worthy of a B.

    What was most impressive about Morris' play was how well he played defensively. Specifically how he limited Zach Randolph to 7.1 points and 2.9 rebounds lower than his season averages.

    Ten points and 10 rebounds, to be exact.

    Z-Bo hadn't grabbed less than 13 boards since December 14th against Kenneth Faried and the Denver Nuggets. He'd scored at least 15 points in 20 of his first 24 games.

    Morris didn't allow him to do anything. An excellent performance.

Omer Asik, Center

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    Overall Grade: A-

    In Houston's most recent game against an elite center, Omer Asik was pummeled on the interior.

    Tyson Chandler and the New York Knicks held him to six points and two rebounds in 25 minutes. 

    Matched up against Marc Gasol and the Memphis Grizzlies, however, Asik took full control. He did so by outmuscling the finesse big, thus finishing with his 12th double-double of the season.

    Asik posted 14 points, 12 rebounds and four offensive boards. He'd also pick up a block.

    Although Asik continues to have stone hands on offense, the Turkish center is managing to pick up points via his hustle and energy. This is one of the primary reasons the Rockets emerged victorious Saturday night, as their energy neutralized their frontcourt opposition.

    Another powerful performance by Asik.

Carlos Delfino, Sixth Man

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    Overall Grade: B+

    Matched up against one of the most finesse teams in the NBA, Carlos Delfino found a way to out-duel the opposition.

    Statistically speaking, Delfino finished with 11 points, four assists, three rebounds and a steal in 27 minutes. He also converted three three-point field goals.

    Most important of all, Delfino posted a game-high +/- of plus-22.

    Delfino was positively influential in every sense of the word. He played solid defense, displayed fluid lateral quickness and connected on key three-pointers during Houston's third-quarter push.

    This was one of Delfino's better all-around performances in 2012-13.

Bench

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    Overall Grade: B-

    Led by Greg Smith and Toney Douglas, the Houston Rockets' second unit continues to provide quality minutes.

    The reserves combined for totals of 38 points, 14 rebounds, seven assists, five steals and one block. Every one of their players had a positive +/-, which further proves their influence.

    As for the standouts, Smith and Douglas took the cake. Again.

    Smith put up 10 points, five rebounds and a steal in just 20 minutes of game action. He shot an efficient 5-of-6 from the floor.

    Douglas, meanwhile, put up 10 points of his own. Although he shot a weak 4-of-13 from the floor, the former Florida State Seminole also tallied a +/- of plus-17.

    A pleasantly solid outing by the Houston bench.