Cleveland Cavaliers vs Houston Rockets: Postgame Grades and Analysis for Houston
Houston took a 15-point lead into halftime after dominating nearly every facet of the game for the first 24 minutes. The Rockets got whatever shots they wanted on offense, and forced Cleveland into taking long-range attempts that it wasn't equipped to knock down.
James Harden led the way with 20 points, and Jeremy Lin had six assists in just 20 minutes of play.
Point Guard: Jeremy Lin
He only made one basket in the first quarter—a nifty layup in traffic in which he also drew a foul—but finished the period with four assists.
Lin wasn't much of a factor the rest of the game, but that's more of a testament to Houston's quick style than an indictment on his poor play. He didn't shoot efficiently from the floor, but Lin's overall decision-making with the ball was enough to get the ball going where it had to on the offensive end.
He finished with four points and six assists in just 20 minutes of play.
Shooting Guard: James Harden
Harden waited until halfway into the first quarter before he scored his first basket, a pull-up three-pointer. He finished the first half with a team-high 13 points, scoring every which way possible.
In the second half, it was Harden who helped push Houston's lead from 15 at the half to the high 20s in the final 24 minutes.
He finished with 20 points on just nine shots, with nine free-throw attempts and three three-pointers.
Small Forward: Chandler Parsons
Parsons got to the basket at will in the first half, a skill he's slowly improved since entering the league. Through three quarters, he was an efficient scoring weapon, mostly off timely cuts, scoring 13 points on 5-of-11 shooting.
Parsons' services in the final quarter weren't needed, thanks to the Rockets' massive lead.
He was nifty on the defensive end, too, blocking a Cavaliers' shot from behind in the first half that led to a Rockets fast-break layup on the other end.
Power Forward: Donatas Motiejunas
Early on, Donatas Motiejunas flashed some of his defensive quickness, drawing a charge against Alonzo Gee, who had him squared up in isolation. He also knocked down an open three from the left corner and was active on the offensive glass.
Motiejunas ended the game with 10 points in 20 minutes—a bright game from the rookie.
Center: Omer Asik
Asik started 2-of-2 from the floor, with two point blank looks at the basket. His greater impact on this one came on the defensive end, where Asik blocked shots with ferocity as often as he took charges.
Getting proper position on him in the post is basically impossible, as Cleveland forward Tristan Thompson found out as the game went on.
Asik finished the game with 13 points and 11 rebounds in just 22 minutes of action.
Sixth Man: Thomas Robinson
On his first possession with the ball, Robinson charged into Luke Walton and was called for an offensive foul. But just a minute later, he scored on a pretty tip in. Overall, Robinson still plays like a rookie, and in the second quarter he was attributed a turnover on consecutive possessions.
But there were optimistic moments, too. At one point late in the game he was 4-of-5 from the floor with eight points. Robinson is always active, and despite turning it over so many times, he never stopped hustling.
Robinson finished with 15 points and six rebounds.
Greg Smith continued to give the Rockets solid minutes early on, finishing in traffic and providing stout defense in the post while Omer Asik sat on the bench. He finished with 13 rebounds.
Patrick Beverley gave Houston quality minutes backing up Jeremy Lin, specifically on the defensive end where he forced a 24-second shot clock violation with a big blocked shot in the first quarter. He also assisted Carlos Delfino on a buzzer-beating three-pointer at halftime.
With the entire fourth quarter qualifying as garbage time, the whole bench played hard and managed to increase the lead given to it.