On Friday night, the Rockets defeated the Nets, 106-96.
The Skinny: The teams began the game with a high scoring, back and forth first quarter. The Rockets managed to take a three point lead into the second quarter thanks to a balanced scoring attack. Seven players scored in the quarter, led by Chandler Parsons’ seven points. C.J. Watson, who started for the injured Joe Johnson, made his first three shots, matching Parson’s seven.
In the second quarter, Jeremy Lin and Parsons broke down the Nets perimeter defense and found open teammates. The duo combined for seven assists in the quarter and helped the Rockets make 12-of-22 shot attempts. The Nets turned the ball over four times in the quarter and managed to collectively shoot just 9-of-23 in the quarter. The bright spot in the first half was Brook Lopez, who scored 15 points on 7-of-12 shooting. The Rockets led, 61-53.
In the third, the Nets managed to tie the score after Deron Williams and Lopez led the scoring charge through the first six minutes of the quarter. The final six, however, belonged to James Harden. With the Rockets head by two, Harden connected on two consecutive 3-pointers and helped the Rockets take an 84-75 lead into the fourth.
The Rockets scored the first six points of the fourth and suddenly opened up a 15 point lead. Down the stretch, Mirza Teletovic stood out for the Nets, scoring nine points over the game’s next eight minutes. Teletovic’s shooting helped the club go on a 19-7 to cut the gap to just three with about two minutes remaining. From there, the Rockets scored on 3-point shots on three consecutive possessions. Delfino hit the first two and Harden hit the final one to give the Rockets a 105-96 lead with 40 seconds remaining. From there, the Rockets went on to win.
High Scorers: Brook Lopez led the Nets with 27 points on 13-of-21 shooting. The Rockets had five players in double figures, but were led by James Harden and Carlos Delfino, who each had 22 points.
Key Stats: The Rockets played nine players in the game. Five of them scored in double figures, but three others had nine points. Overall, amazing scoring distribution.
Who Was Hot: Greg Smith shot 5-of-5 from the field and scored 10 points of of the Rockets bench. The Rockets dressed just 10 players, nine of whom played. They were shorthanded after completing a deadline day deal that saw the team acquire rookie Thomas Robinson.
Who Was Not: Deron Williams and Gerald Wallace combined to shoot just 8-of-27. Williams, to his credit, did have 13 assists.
(Not So) Fun Fact: After exercising the demons against the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Nets—who entered Friday night having lost 12 in a row to the Rockets—now have a 13 game losing streak against Houston.
Moke Hamilton, NBA AnalystThe Nets couldn’t capitalize on Friday night. The Knicks lost to the Toronto Raptors and a win against the Rockets would have tied Nets with the Knicks for the Atlantic Division lead. Instead, they trail the Knicks by one game.
Watson gave the Nets a very solid 17 points in the start for Joe Johnson. Fortunately, Johnson is expected to return to the lineup when the Nets host the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday at 7:00pm. The game was originally scheduled for 3:30pm, but ESPN opted to pick the game up, so there’s the explanation for the changed start time.