Houston Rockets vs. Sacramento Kings: Postgame Grades and Analysis for Houston
The Houston Rockets scored a lot of points and left Sacramento with an absolutely ugly loss to the tune of 117 to 111.
The Kings outhustled, outworked and ultimately overpowered the Rockets in nearly ever facet of the game.
Defensively speaking, the Rockets were atrocious. They let the Kings get into the paint at will, and they defended the perimeter with an extremely low level of focus.
Led by James Harden's 30 points, the Rockets simply tried to outscore the Kings, and with Jeremy Lin on the bench—fouled out—they just couldn't get that done.
What was exposed was the Rockets desire to be lazy on defense instead of playing with intensity on both sides of the ball.
While the Kings are a dangerous team, with a lot of untapped potential, there's no reason why the Rockets shouldn't have been able to handle them.
It was a below-average team effort for the Rockets, and the individual grades for each player mirror that below-average focus.
Point Guard: Jeremy Lin
This loss wasn't all Jeremy Lin's fault, but the fact that he fouled out about midway through the fourth quarter certainly was a major reason why the Rockets couldn't come back.
Lin wasn't explosive, with just 12 points and six assists on the night. But he was extremely efficient, only turning the ball over once and shooting 5-of-8 from the field and 100 percent from beyond the arc and the charity stripe.
The Rockets could've certainly used Lin's efficiency and facilitation down the stretch, but with six fouls, he couldn't leave the bench.
Lin's defense on Isaiah Thomas was strong throughout the night. Unfortunately for the Rockets, once Lin went to the bench, Thomas took advantage.
If Lin could've played for more than 29 minutes, the Rockets most likely would've left Sacramento with the win.
The Rockets certainly need Lin to play with more discipline on the defensive side of the ball and control when he drives into the paint on offense. If Lin can do that, and continue playing efficiently, he'll be closer to "Linsanity" than he has all season long.
Houston needs him to be that player taking some pressure off James Harden. If Lin doesn't, the Rockets could be headed down the rankings in the West rather quickly.
Overall Grade: B-
Final Stats: 12 points, 6 assists, 2 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 steal, 62.5 FG%
Shooting Guard: James Harden
James Harden did all that he could to keep the Rockets in this one throughout the night, ending with 30 points on 50 percent shooting from the field.
The only problem was that Harden couldn't seem to get open, or even clean looks at the basket, down the stretch. That hurt the Rockets, and it played a major role in the loss.
You can't blame Harden, though, because with Lin on the bench and Chandler Parsons seriously struggling from the field, the Kings were able to key on Harden without worrying about the rest of the Rockets.
The one thing that held Harden back was his 28.6 percent shooting from beyond the arc. He seemed to settle for contested three balls instead of getting into the paint and trying to finish strong at the rim.
It's becoming more and more evident that Harden can't get the job done himself in Houston, and it's mainly because the rest of the team doesn't seem interested in playing defense.
Harden's defense on Tyreke Evans was strong throughout the night, but the same can't be said for the entire team.
The bearded wonder had an impressive night, but he just couldn't ever get his team over the hump, and that's why his grade isn't higher.
Overall Grade: B+
Final Stats: 30 points. 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 4 turnovers, 50 FG%
Small Forward: Chandler Parsons
There's just no way around it, Chandler Parsons had an absolutely atrocious night against the Kings.
He was 0-of-6 from beyond the arc, and he shot just 16.7 percent from the field. While he totaled six assists, he hurt the Rockets greatly by not being close to efficient with his jumper.
He played the least of any starter—just 27 minutes—and that goes to show just how terrible of a night he had.
His defense on John Salmons, when he was in the game, was nearly non-existent. He allowed Salmons to get into the paint and hit floaters at will. He also didn't bring anything to the help the defensive game.
Parsons also missed some key shots late in the game and turned the ball over in the paint when the Rockets had a chance to pull within one possession.
All in all, Parsons was terrible against the Kings. Going on to write more about him would be a disservice to you and myself, so I'll just end it here.
Overall Grade: D-
Final Stats: 5 points, 6 assists, 2 rebounds, 3 steals, 16.7 FG%
Power Forward: Patrick Patterson
Patrick Patterson had a solid night on the offensive side of the ball, with 18 points on 50 percent shooting from the field.
While he was a bright spot on offense, it was a different story on defense.
He wasn't awful, but he certainly didn't do anything to help keep the Kings off the glass or out of the paint. While Patterson's game on offense includes a solid perimeter touch, he needs to remember that he needs to be tenacious in the paint, specifically on defense.
Without Patterson playing strong in the paint, the Rockets don't have much of a defensive answer for anyone, and that's exactly what happened tonight.
If Patterson can't figure out how to play legitimate post defense, the Rockets need to figure out a rotation that better suits them, because Patterson shouldn't be in the starting lineup.
His offensive production saved his questionable defensive performance in this one.
Overall Grade: B-
Final Stats: 18 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 50.0 FG%
Center: Omer Asik
The double-double machine strikes again.
Omer Asik ended with 17 points and 12 rebounds on 8-of-9 shooting from the field. Those are LeBron James like numbers. OK, that's not true, but Asik certainly did all he could to help the Rockets stay close.
Asik's biggest strength was his tenacity on the offensive boards—ending the night with six offensive rebounds.
Out of everyone in Rockets jerseys, Asik played the most efficiently on both sides of the ball.
He kept the Kings out of the paint, only allowing 34 points in the paint, which is extremely impressive, considering that the Kings dropped 117 on the Rockets.
There's not much more that Asik could've done to help the Rockets out here because, aside from finishing no the glass and rebounding, there's not much he can do.
Solid effort by Asik on both sides of the ball. His impressive performance doesn't really come as a shock, though, because the Kings don't really have a bona fide center to throw against him.
Overall Grade: A-
Final Stats: 17 points, 12 rebounds, 3 blocks, 88.9 FG%
Sixth Man: Carlos Delfino
Carlos Delfino led the Rockets' second unit, and he did so with 15 points.
Unfortunately, it took nine three-point attempts and 13 total field-goal attempts to get those points.
Delfino's 33.3 percent shooting from beyond the arc and 38.5 percent shooting from the field didn't help the Rockets, especially down the stretch.
Every time the Rockets needed a big basket, it seemed like Delfino found the ball in his hands with the shot clock running out.
Spoiler Alert: He didn't hit many of those shots.
Aside from his three assists, he didn't do much aside from shoot below average from everywhere on the court.
It's clear that efficiency and consistency isn't Deflino's style, and that's concerning for the Rockets moving forward.
Overall Grade: C-
Final Stats: 15 points, 3 assists, 1 rebound, 1 steal, 38.5 FG%
The Rockets got a total of 29 points from their second unit—15 from Carlos Delfino, eight from Marcus Morris and six from Patrick Beverly.
While their performance wasn't awful, it wasn't necessarily what the Rockets needed from them, especially from beyond the arc.
The Rockets' second unit shot just 5-of-15 from three-point land and didn't make up for it on the defensive side of the ball.
With their second unit on the court, the Rockets consistently let the Kings either stay in the game or gain decent-sized leads that the starting crew had to dig Houston out of.
More balanced production on both sides of the ball is what Houston needs from their second unit moving forward. Oh, and some efficiency wouldn't hurt either.
Overall Grade: C+
Combined Stats: 29 points, 15 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 turnovers, 45.8 FG%