Houston Rockets vs. Phoenix Suns: Postgame Grades and Analysis for Houston

Peter Emerick@@peteremerickSenior Writer IIApril 16, 2013

Houston Rockets vs. Phoenix Suns: Postgame Grades and Analysis for Houston

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    The Phoenix Suns beat the Houston Rockets at their own game, outscoring them 119-112.

    It wasn't pretty for the Rockets, who committed 16 turnovers and shot under 47 percent from the field.

    The worst part of their performance, though, was their consistent inability to defend either Luis Scola or Goran Dragic, who combined for 47 points.

    Scola ended the night with 26 points and 15 rebounds, and Dragic accounted for 21 points and 14 assists. The Rockets' atrocious defense made the Suns look like the greatest offensive team in NBA history, and we all know that's not the case.

    Every Suns starter was in double digits, including Wesley Johnson, who had 12 points and seven rebounds. Yep, it was that kind of game for the Rockets.

    With playoff seeding on the line, James Harden couldn't get it done, scoring just 16 points on an abysmal 27.8 percent shooting.

    Let's hope the Rockets can put this one behind them as they head to L.A. to face the Lakers on Wednesday night in a matchup that has some serious playoff implications.

Point Guard: Jeremy Lin

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    Jeremy Lin had a hot first half, reminding Houston fans what Linsanity was last season.

    Unfortunately he cooled off, ending the night with 20 points on 8-of-19 shooting from the floor and 2-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc. 

    Lin didn't turn the ball over a lot, which was a plus for him. But he did let Goran Dragic obliterate him nearly every play of the game on the offensive side of the ball.

    Dragic ended with 21 points and 14 assists, and while he certainly saved his best for last, Lin surely made dominating the game look easy for Dragic.

    It wasn't a great night for Lin, and it wasn't a terrible night for him either. It was just average, and that, shockingly, wasn't what the Rockets needed from him.

    Lin ended the evening with just four assists and three rebounds in addition to his poor defense and inefficient shooting. 

    Overall Grade: C+

Shooting Guard: James Harden

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    James Harden spent most of Monday night missing jumpers from all over the floor.

    When the Houston Rockets needed big buckets, Harden was nowhere to be found, ending the night with just 16 points on an atrocious 5-of-18 shooting—that's 27.8 percent for all you mathematicians out there. 

    The bearded wonder also had two more turnovers on the game than he did assists—with a turnover-to-assist ratio of 4-2—and that just didn't cut it against an explosive Phoenix Suns team.

    Harden was 0-of-7 from beyond the arc, and he also missed five of his 11 free throws on the night. It was a very uncharacteristic night for him, and the Rockets are hoping that it was simply a fluke. 

    If this is the Harden that shows up in the playoffs for Houston, the Rockets are in for a tough, tough stretch.

    Overall Grade: C-

Small Forward: Chandler Parsons

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    With 24 points, seven assists and four rebounds, Chandler Parsons was the star of the night for the Rockets. 

    Unfortunately, Houston needed about eight more points from Parsons for it to really matter.

    He shot 61.5 percent from the field, 50 percent from beyond the arc and 85.7 percent from the charity stripe. In addition to that, he turned the ball over just three times all game.

    Those are LeBron James-esque numbers, and while Parsons will never be that kind of player, it's certainly encouraging to see him put up that production.

    Where the Rockets need to see some improvement is on the defensive side of the ball. Instead of cutting into passing lanes, Parsons needs to stay home more and defend on the perimeter. He didn't do that, and the Suns made him pay for it.

    With that being said, Parsons was a major reason why the Rockets didn't get blown out. Kudos for that, Parsons.

    Overall Grade: A-

Power Forward: Greg Smith

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    Greg Smith was nothing more than a foul machine for the Rockets on Monday night. 

    He played just 14 minutes, picked up four personal fouls and shot 33.3 percent from the floor with four points and three rebounds.

    It's clear that the Rockets need more consistent production out of him if they are going to seriously compete in the playoffs. Well, they at least need him to be on the floor more than 14 minutes all game because of foul trouble.

    With Terrence Jones starting to emerge—Jones had 12 points, six blocks and four rebounds—Smith's minutes may continue to decrease whether he likes it or not.

    Rough outing for Smith against an underwhelming Phoenix Suns team playing for absolutely nothing.

    Overall Grade: D

Center: Omer Asik

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    Omer Asik certainly was a non-factor for the Rockets all night long against the Suns. 

    He played just 14 minutes, scored just six points and only grabbed seven rebounds. 

    Against an incredibly underwhelming Suns frontcourt, it was rather embarrassing watching Asik get abused on both sides of the ball.

    When Asik was guarding Luis Scola, he looked out of place, confused and overwhelmed. That's mainly why Scola dropped 26 points and 15 rebounds on the Rockets.

    Asik had a terrible night, especially defensively, and that killed the Rockets. Hopefully Asik can put this one behind him and get ready for an important showdown with the L.A. Lakers on Wednesday night.

    Overall Grade: D+

Sixth Man: Carlos Delfino

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    Well at least Carlos Delfino showed up to play on Monday night.

    Delfino had an impressive night, with 23 points, eight rebounds, two assists, two steals and a blocked shot.

    He also shot 53.3 percent from the field and 66.7 percent from beyond the arc. Without his production, the Rockets could've lost this one by double digits.

    Late in the game, Delfino was the only player wearing a Rockets jersey who could consistently knock down perimeter shots.

    Delfino also turned the ball over only one time, which certainly helped the Rockets stay competitive with the Suns.

    Unfortunately though, like his teammates, his defense was nothing to write home about, and that hurt the Rockets down the stretch when they couldn't stop the Suns in transition or in the half court.

    Overall Grade: B+


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    Terrence Jones and Carlos Delfino accounted for 35 of the Rockets' 42 bench points. 

    That shows just how terrible the rest of the Rockets bench truly was on Monday night. Francisco Garcia reverted to his former self, adding zero points and not attempting a single shot. 

    Patrick Beverly wasted the 17 minutes he was on the floor, scoring just five points on 2-of-4 shooting from the field.

    Aside from Jones and Delfino, the Rockets bench wasn't impressive at all, and its lack of production was a major reason why the Rockets fell to the Suns.

    Luckily, Delfino and Jones' performance saves them from a low grade. Let's hope they can step their game up on Wednesday when they face off against the Lake Show in a pivotal matchup with serious playoff implications.

    Overall Grade: B-