NETS GAMENIGHT: #Rockets @ #Nets

Updated: February 22, 2013


Houston Rockets (30-26) @ Brooklyn Nets (33-22)

Barclays Center 7:30

TV: YES – RADIO: WFAN 660 AM/101.9 FM

The Brooklyn Nets have won four in a row and have done it with injuries to key players.  Prior to the All-Star break they played without Deron Williams for two games, won both, and now tonight they will be without Joe Johnson with heel problems.  This will put an onus on MarShon Brooks to step up and make something happen with the chance to start and get some quality minutes.  Brooks will need to take advantage of the playing time and help Williams to offset the loss of Johnson.

The Houston Rockets come to town with their high flying up tempo game and are coming off a thrilling win at home against Oklahoma City 122-199.  James Harden lit up his former team for 46 points, eight rebounds and six assists while Jeremy Lin added 26 points to help Harden exact some revenge on his former team.

[blockquote]”He’s a phenomenal offensive force. He can drive it. He’ s got the ability to shoot it. He’s got the ability to beat you off the bounce. I think he’s almost unguardable off the catch,” coach Kevin McHale said. “His first step is so deceptively fast and strong and he changes direction…when he plays off the catch I just think he’s absolutely as good as it gets. … He’s just a (heck) of a basketball player.”[/blockquote]

Since then the Rockets made a couple of moves before the deadline, most notably bringing  Thomas Robinson, Francisco Garcia and Tyler Honeycutt from Sacramento in exchange for starting forward Patrick Patterson, Cole Aldrich and Toney Douglas.

The Nets are playing much better in the last week, showing more emotion and passion, and hope to use that to counter the high scoring of the Rockets.  The bench was a key to the Nets victories over the Milwaukee Bucks when they scored a whopping 44 and 47 points in back-to-back wins.  C.J. Watson helped propel the Nets in the first game with 17 points and Andray Blatche came up big in the second win with 12 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.  Williams had 23 points and eight assists but was the only starter to score in double figures.  It wasn’t a pretty win but still was a win.

[blockquote] “Every game isn’t going to be pretty,” said Williams, who continues to play though ankle pain. “You are going to have these grind-it-out games. We got down and we are able to fight back and keep our composure and get a win.”[/blockquote]

The last time these teams played was on Jan. 26th when the Rockets blew out the Nets 119-106 and the score did not indicate the disparity between the two teams on the floor. The Nets stayed with the fast breaking Rockets for a half, 62-49, and mostly behind the scoring of Williams.  The Rockets out-rebounded the Nets 50-31 and were hammered on the offensive glass due to the lack of passion.  It was not a good game in the least for Brooklyn as they looked to be outclassed.

Harden scored 29 points and dished out seven assists, while Omer Asik finished with 20 points and 16 rebounds. Chandler Parsons had a career-high 11 assists and six boards in the rout.  The Rockets assisted on 31 of 43 baskets which is an astounding number.  This along with the rebounding must change tonight for the Nets to have a chance to even the season series and keep their win streak alive.

MATCHUP OF THE GAME: Deron Williams  vs Jeremy Lin

Williams led the Nets with 27 points and 11 assists in the last meeting but 20 of those points came in the first quarter and prior to an ankle injury that occurred in the second quarter.  Williams returned to the game but was not the same player as he watched the game slip away from the Nets.  Lin has not had good luck against Williams since Williams ended the “Linsanity” last year and he struggled in the first meeting this year.   Lin did have 14 points and nine assists in the win over Brooklyn but he was not a factor in the game with Harden, Parsons and Asik destroying the Nets inside.

STAT FOR TONIGHTDeron Williams owns 13 regular season double-digit assist games against the Rockets dating back to 2006-07.  The visiting Rockets try for a 13th consecutive win over the Nets tonight.



Joe Johnson (sore heel, plantar fasciitis) is OUT


Chandler Parsons  (sprained right ankle) is questionable

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