Milwaukee Bucks vs. Houston Rockets: Postgame Grades and Analysis for Houston

Peter EmerickSenior Writer IIFebruary 27, 2013

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Houston Rockets: Postgame Grades and Analysis for Houston

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    The Houston Rockets dropped a heartbreaker to the Milwaukee Bucks, 110-107, thanks to the deadly stroke of Monta Ellis.

    With 0.4 seconds left, Ellis jacked up a prayer that was answered. 

    The Rockets dominated the game for the majority of the night, but they gave up too many second-chance opportunities in the second half.

    James Harden led the way with 25 points, seven assists and four steals, and Omer Asik added an impressive 16 points and 22 rebounds—posting his 40th double-double of the season.

    The big difference for the Rockets was their lack of bench production, with just 23 of their 107 points coming from their second unit.

    The eighth seed in the Western Conference is slowly slipping away for the Rockets, and Wednesday night was certainly a step in the wrong direction for the Rockets.

Point Guard: Jeremy Lin

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    Jeremy Lin just couldn't find his stroke against the Bucks' perimeter defense, and that majorly cost the Rockets.

    Lin ended the night with just 10 points on 4-of-11 shooting. While he accounted for seven assists and three steals, he didn't do much more to contribute on either side of the ball. 

    It's clear that James Harden is starting to feel the pressure of carrying the Rockets, and that's because Lin just isn't doing his part.

    If the Rockets are going to hold on to that final eighth spot in the West, Lin needs to at least be more efficient with his offense. His tendency to overcommit on defense hurt the Rockets as well, as it allowed Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis into the paint for high-percentage shots.

    Lin absolutely must be more efficient moving forward, that's a tough lesson the Rockets learned Wednesday night. 

    Overall Grade: C-

Shooting Guard: James Harden

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    James Harden had another decent night with 25 points, seven assists and four steals on 44.4 percent shooting from the floor.

    Rockets fans held their collective breaths when Harden went down to the floor in the second quarter with an apparent stinger to his left knee.

    While Harden came back right after a timeout, he was clearly favoring his knee throughout the rest of the game—getting blocked on a fast-break layup by Mike Dunleavy. That would never happen if Harden was 100 percent.

    Harden did a great job of getting to the line, hitting 7-of-10 free throws. It's just becoming clearer every day that he's not going to be able to carry the Rockets himself, much like LeBron James couldn't in Cleveland.

    The main difference though is that Harden has the help he needs. He just needs guys like Jeremy Lin to step their game up.

    While he couldn't get the "W" for his team, Harden still had a productive night and helped keep it close. Let's hope that his knee "injury" isn't anything too serious though, because without Harden, the Rockets aren't going to make the playoffs.

    Overall Grade: B

Small Forward: Chandler Parsons

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    Chandler Parsons is an absolute spark plug for the Rockets. He is a constant source of energy and hustle, and that was true against the Bucks.

    Unfortunately, his aggressive nature sometimes results in unnecessary turnovers, which we saw Wednesday night with his five turnovers.

    Luckily, he made up for that with an efficiently productive performance.

    Parsons ended the night with 20 points on 9-of-17 shooting, and he added five rebounds and two assists. He just needs to learn how to balance his energy, as he wears himself out way too often, resulting in easy buckets for his opponents.

    Overall Grade: B

Power Forward: Donatas Motiejunas

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    Donatas Motiejunas has been a consistent producer for the Rockets over the past five games, averaging 8.8 points per game on 60.9 percent shooting.

    That's been good enough to earn him a place in the starting lineup. While he didn't necessarily have an amazing game, he certainly brought a lot to the court with 13 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

    With uncertainty at the power forward position after the Rockets traded for Thomas Robinson, they need some consistent production at the power forward position. They got that from Motiejunas against the Bucks.

    Motiejunas certainly needs to work on his acuity on the defensive side of the ball, though, because the Bucks went to work on him in the paint. 

    While he shot just 44.4 percent from the floor, Motiejunas definitely showed some glimpses of the potential he's yet to achieve.

    Overall Grade: B+

Center: Omer Asik

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    Out of the Houston Rockets' 59 games, Omer Asik hasn't had a double-double just 19 times. That gives him 40 double-double performances on the season.

    It's clear that the Rockets made a smart move by paying him a decent chunk of money this offseason to be their franchise center.

    He absolutely dominated the Bucks on the glass, grabbing 22 rebounds, and he made the most of his offensive opportunities in the paint with 16 points on the night. Yes, you read that right. He had 22 rebounds, with six of them coming on the offensive glass. 

    Defensively speaking, Asik wasn't necessarily explosive, but he certainly impacted the game by being a constant force in the paint, forcing the Bucks backcourt to adjust shots time and time again.

    Asik had a great night; there's no way around it, and his play was a major reason why the Rockets were able to stay competitive against the Bucks. 

    If Donatas Motiejunas continues to develop as expected, the Rockets could have a very intimidating and dominant frontcourt.

    Overall Grade: A-

Sixth Man: Carlos Delfino

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    It's sort of a love/hate relationship with Carlos Delfino. He doesn't really hurt the Rockets, but he doesn't help them like he should.

    That's mainly because while at times he's an opportunistic perimeter shooter, he puts up way too many shots.

    The Rockets can't be happy with the amount of shots he put up against the Bucks, with 13 in total. If he made 55 percent of those, it wouldn't be an issue, but he made just 5-of-13. 

    At times, Delfino takes shots away from more "qualified" players like James Harden and Jeremy Lin, and that's what he needs to work on.

    There were too many times to count where instead of hustling back on defense, Delfino argued with refs, which led to fast-break opportunities for the Bucks.

    To sum up Delfino's performance, it wasn't terrible, but it certainly needed more discipline. And that's something he needs to work on as the Rockets push for a playoff appearance.

    Overall Grade: C-

Bench

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    Surprisingly, the Rockets didn't go too deep into their second unit, playing just four out of their 10 bench players.

    The Rockets' second unit accounted for 23 points, with 12 coming from Carlos Delfino and 11 coming from Patrick Beverly, Thomas Robinson and Greg Smith.

    The difference in the second unit production is that Delfino shot 38.5 percent and the rest of the bench shot 62.5 percent from the floor. There needs to be more balanced bench production for the Rockets moving forward.

    The brightest spot for the Rockets bench was the fact that they committed zero turnovers. Average performance from the second unit.

    Overall Grade: B-