Houston Rockets vs. Philadelphia 76ers: Game Grades and Analysis for Rockets
James Anderson, who finished the night with a career-high 36 points, hit a three-pointer with 6.6 seconds remaining in regulation to help send the game into overtime.
Key stops by Philadelphia's defense and clutch free throws by Thaddeus Young (15 points and eight rebounds) and Evan Turner (23 points, seven rebounds and five assists) helped the 76ers pull away late and secure the 123-117 OT victory.
Tony Wroten had his first career triple-double of 18 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists. His desperation heave from midcourt nearly won it for Philadelphia at the buzzer.
Rookie Michael Carter-Williams of the 76ers and James Harden of the Rockets both sat out of this game with foot-related injuries.
Jeremy Lin led the Rockets with 34 points, including a franchise-record nine three-pointers. Dwight Howard had 23 points, while Chandler Parsons chipped in 22 of his own.
Defense was once again a huge issue, as the Rockets gave up another 100-plus points to the opposition for the sixth time this season.
Houston will play the second game of an Atlantic Division back-to-back tomorrow night at Madison Square Garden against the New York Knicks, while Philadelphia will visit Atlanta on Friday to do battle with the Hawks.
Point Guard: Patrick Beverley
Despite his 6'1" stature, Patrick Beverley made his presence felt on the boards in the first half, grabbing five rebounds, including two on the offensive glass.
With backcourt running mate Jeremy Lin having a monster scoring night, there really wasn't much of a need for Beverley to put up a lot of points.
He would finish the game with a nice line of 12 points, nine rebounds, five assists and three steals. He came up with big forced turnovers in key moments, but it ultimately wasn't enough to help his team pick up the victory.
Final Grade: B
Shooting Guard: Jeremy Lin
Jeremy Lin was absolutely fantastic against the Toronto Raptors Monday night, leading the team with 31 points on 10-of-17 shooting in 45 minutes of action.
Against the 76ers, Lin got the start at shooting guard in place of an injured James Harden.
Shooting 45.5 percent from behind the arc on the season, Lin would begin this game looking to get his offense from the perimeter, hitting two of his first three attempts and scoring eight of the Rockets first 10 points.
He would finish the half with four three-pointers for 16 points and seven assists.
This continued in the second half, as Lin further lit up Philadelphia from the outside, hitting three more three-pointers.
That's a lot of threes.
Lin's 12 assists were also a season-high, but he did turn the ball over eight times.
He disappeared on offense in the fourth quarter, as Philadelphia head coach Brett Brown put more of an emphasis on Lin on the defensive end, halting his progress.
In overtime, Lin hit his eighth three-pointer of the game to give Houston a 112-111 lead in the final two minutes. His ninth three-pointer was also clutch, bringing Houston to within two points at 119-117 with 8.2 seconds left in the period, which is a new Wells Fargo Center record.
Tony Wroten blocked his final attempt, sealing the deal for the 76ers.
Lin helped the Rockets take a reasonable lead in the games early stages, but his lack of a showing in the fourth quarter helped give Philadelphia breathing room to make their comeback.
Final Grade: A -
Small Forward: Chandler Parsons
Chandler Parsons didn't get on the board until the 8:34 mark of the second quarter, hitting one of his two free-throw attempts after being fouled on a drive to the rim.
He then got an easy two points under the rim off a Dwight Howard pass after the big man got double-teamed.
Parsons was aggressive getting to the basket, whether it be by driving the lane and looking to score or simply drawing in defenders and dishing the ball out to an open teammate. He was looking to make positive things happen for the Rockets.
The third quarter is where Parsons really shined, scoring 11 points while helping Houston run up a 10-point lead.
With Houston leading 104-103 late in the game, Parsons came up with a huge block but turned the ball over right away on the other end.
His free-throw shooting was also rather suspect when it mattered most. The jitters may have been getting to him. Parsons also bricked an attempt to win it all at the end of regulation.
Twenty-two points on 9-of-19 from the field, including six rebounds, seven assists and four blocked shots is how Parsons ended the night.
Houston relied on Parsons—as they would James Harden—as their go-to-guy. I'm not entirely sure if he was ready to handle such a task, but he certainly put up one heck of a fight in the meantime.
Final Grade: B -
Power Forward: Terrence Jones
Terrence Jones was not shy from three-point range in the first half, making one of his two attempts, with the second shot just rolling out. Those were his first two tries from behind the arc this season.
It's not as if he can't hit the shot. Jones made a respectable 36.4 percent during the 2013 Las Vegas Summer League.
Jones even made another three-pointer in the third quarter. The hot shooting of teammate Jeremy Lin must have rubbed off on the second-year pro.
He also brought a lot of energy and hustle in his first start of the season, playing solid defense on Thaddeus Young.
With Dwight Howard on the bench and Omer Asik not producing, Jones even played a short spurt at center, as head coach Kevin McHale went small.
A missed three-pointer with the game tied at 103 with 1:23 remaining was rather ill-advised, even if he was finding some success from the perimeter early on.
A double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds, along with three blocks, is nice on paper, but Jones is still rather raw and better-suited coming off the bench.
Once Harden returns, I would expect that to be the case.
Final Grade: B -
Center: Dwight Howard
The matchup between Dwight Howard and Spencer Hawes in the paint was never going to be much of a fair fight, with the proof coming in the numbers "Superman" put up in the opening 24 minutes.
Howard had 16 points, nine rebounds, two assists and three blocked shots in the first half.
His size and height was too much for Hawes to deal with in man-to-man coverage, which led to several double-team attempts by the 76ers defense.
The only trouble Hawes gave the seven-time NBA All-Star was on the perimeter, as Howard rarely showed a willingness to come out of the block and defend.
Philadelphia even began to deploy the "Hack-a-Dwight" technique late in the second quarter, although Howard made them pay for that decision by hitting 3-of-4 from the charity stripe.
In the second half and overtime, the defense of Hawes was night-and-day from what it was in the first two quarters. Howard never got into a rhythm late in the game, with most of the credit deservedly going to Hawes.
Until Howard can get over his struggles from the free-throw line, he's going to be more of a detriment in these late-game situations, as he's proven time and time again that he can't consistently hit his freebies.
A putback dunk by Hawes over Howard in OT gave the 76ers a 115-114 lead with 29.8 seconds remaining in the period.
He was then double-teamed by Hawes and Thaddeus Young, leading to an all-important turnover.
Howard finished the game with a double-double of 23 points and 15 rebounds, along with six assists and six blocks.
Final Grade: B -
Sixth Man: Omri Casspi
Omri Casspi was a key contributor to Houston's barrage from the three-point range, hitting 2-of-6 from behind the arc that night.
In fact, perhaps Casspi deserves a gold star for being the only player on the Rockets' bench to actually show up.
He put the ball on the floor, hit his open looks and was intrusive on defense, swiping the ball on two separate occasions and blocking a shot on another.
His 16 points was the only offense produced by the bench all evening.
Final Grade: B
Other than Omri Casspi, no one on Houston's bench gave the team much of anything in the opening half.
Francisco Garcia and Aaron Brooks combined to shoot 0-of-3, while Omer Asik added nothing on the stat sheet in a little more than four minutes of play.
Asik didn't put up much of a fight in the paint, as Philadelphia got whatever they wanted around the basket when the 7'0" center out of Turkey was on the court.
Garcia threw up a desperation three-pointer with the team trailing late in overtime, but it didn't come close.
The team's second unit currently ranks 17th in the NBA, averaging 31.6 points. Some shifts in the lineup could explain their deficiencies against the 76ers, but with the exception of Casspi, they just weren't helpful at all.
There's no need to discuss them any longer than this.
They were very disappointing.
Final Grade: F