Rockets 119, Hawks 104 - Cruising

Photo by Mintaha Neslihan Eroglu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The Houston Rockets have had their share of troubles recently. Their shiny new hall-of-fame level point guard, Chris Paul, has missed nine out of ten games. Dings, dents, scrapes and stomachaches have shortened their rotation and prevented them from playing to their potential. They were dragged into and through the mud by the Memphis Grizzlies on two separate, non-consecutive occasions. They are nowhere near the team they expected to be, and the team they probably would be with some better breaks. They are not, however, anywhere near losing to the Atlanta Hawks. In probably the least interesting game of the season, the Houston Rockets ran away with this one, quietly and swiftly asserting their dominance and moving on.

If there is a story to this game, it's that the Rockets actually hit some threes for once. They may have only shot 34% from deep, but that includes a garbage time lineup that decided to miss on all of their threes and torpedo that percentage. Of the players who built a 30-point lead on the Hawks, everyone shot a great percentage except PJ Tucker and Trevor Ariza, who went 2-8 and 0-3 respectively. It was a welcome regression to the mean for a team suffering from an uncharacteristic three point slump.

The rest of the game was a brutal, one-sided romp. The Atlanta Hawks are in full rebuilding mode and have managed to win one game, their first one, in nine tries. They have some young players who show some promise, but they also have a mismatched lineup and no need to win games. The final score comes after the extensive garbage time lineup frittered away a thirty point lead, letting it shrink by half. This game was not a fifteen-point game by any means. This was the sort of total squash match that helps locker room chemistry for one team and makes the other players wonder why they got out of bed.

The Rockets, for being without their other star, still have James Harden and a well-balanced, talented squad. Even without another playable guard beyond Eric Gordon, the Hawks stood no chance whatsoever. The biggest story for the Rockets is simply that there was no story. When a team faces off with a truly bottom-feeding club, there should be no hiccups. There should be no room for observation apart from the cold truth that one team is just much better than the other. Today, the Rockets quashed all the storylines for another day. Today, the Rockets were thirty points better than the Hawks. And against the Hawks, that's all that matters.

No comments:

Post a Comment