Game On: Rockets @ Pelicans

Published: January 2, 2015

It’s too early to tell what the addition of Josh Smith will mean to the Rockets.  Since he’s arrived, they have two narrow losses against good teams, one narrow win against a good team, and a crushing defeat of a bad team.  However you look at it, he’s taking minutes from the released Tarik Black and a moderately effective Montiejunas, so whether you believe in the crappy Detroit Josh Smith or the good Atlanta Josh Smith, it’s still going to be a wash at worst for the Rockets.

And the Rockets still remain a very good team.  Predictably, since Dwight Howard’s return, the Rockets offense has improved slightly and the teams overall rebounding has gotten a lot better.  That shuts down one avenue of beating this team.  The defense, otherwise, remains tough and offense adequate.

Keys to the game:

  • Protect the glass.  The Rockets play off their drives well and are now the number one offensive rebounding team in the league.  They actually don’t shoot that well, so if you can crash the boards defensively on drives, you have a chance.
  • Find your man in transition.  The Rockets have a top-10 ranked pace and love to drive and get fouled in transition or better yet, hit transition threes, which is the one thing Trevor Ariza is still doing well offensively.  It’s not enough to get back.  Get someone and guard them.
  • Protect the ball.  The Pelicans turnovers have slowly been creeping upwards from their excellent mark over the first 20 games.  The Rockets thrive on turnovers, generating the 4th highest rate in the game.  That sets up point two.  No lazy passes on the perimeter.  Meet the ball.

Enjoy the game!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.