Rocket Power: Aaron Brooks Helping Lift Houston Early On

Sean StancillSenior Writer IDecember 3, 2009

ATLANTA - NOVEMBER 20:  Aaron Brooks #0 of the Houston Rockets against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on November 20, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Ironically, the smallest man of on the court played the biggest part in his team's victory. Aaron Brooks scored a game-high 22 points including three 3-pointers in the Rockets' 102-85 road victory over the Clippers

He also added 4 assists which is significant considering the Rockets are 10-1 in his three years when Brooks scores at least 22 points along with 4 assists. He stabilized Houston early on—who were playing the second of back-to-back on the road—accounting for 15 of the game's first 33 points through a variety of ways including two 3-pointers, two lay-ups, and two assists among others. 

He went on to convert his first eight field goal attempts en route to his fifth game of 20 points or more on the season (the highest of any guard in the Southwest Division not named Chris Paul).

However his contributions didn't end from there as they also spilled over to the defensive side of the ball as well. 
Brooks also did a solid job of defending the much bigger Rasual Butler in the post in the 3rd on a series of sequences, yielding only two points while forcing Butler to take three highly contested jumpers. By contrast, Brooks who stands at 6-0 and and was out-weighed by the 6-7 Butler by 45 pounds.
On one possession, he calmly allowed Butler to back him down and as Butler began to execute a turnaround jumper, Brooks alertly slapped away the ball. On another, he forced Butler back towards the middle of the floor where his help was located, forcing Butler to pass the ball. 
In his first full season as a starter, the third-year guard out of the University of Oregon is continuing to usher the gritty Rockets to wins while still maturing as a starting point guard in the league. This marked their second win in as many games and their fifth win this year over team with a losing record.

Although the latter may not seem like a worthy accomplishment, give Houston credit for feasting on downtrodden teams as they were originally pegged to be downtrodden themselves entering the season without Yao Ming, Tracy McGrady, and Ron Artest. Its entirely up to the other team to capitalize.
Furthermore many fail to realize the Rockets are roughly around the same win trajectory as a season ago when they boasted the Big Three. A year ago it took the Ming-McGrady-Artest chimera to achieve the 10-win mark in 15 games. This season, Houston has reached 10 wins in 17 games despite having nearly 40 million worth of talent loitering on the injury list.
Brooks is averaging 16.6 points per game, which ranks among the fifth-highest scoring average among point guards in the Western Conference and along with his points scored, field goal percentage, three-point shooting, and steals rank the highest among any third-year starting  point guard in the Western Conference. 
Perhaps the least-heralded guard in the Western Conference, Brooks is proving his worth and has surely become a key catalyst in Houston's success this season. Whether or not Houston can continue to stay afloat in the unforgiving Western Conference rides on the legs of their 6-0 speedster.