Notebook: Rockets 119, Nets 106



Posted Jan 27, 2013 12:07 AM

By Matt Miller, For NBA.com

THE FACTS: In a battle of contrasting styles, the Brooklyn Nets were a step too slow for the running Houston Rockets, who won 119-106 on Saturday night at Toyota Center. James Harden scored 29 points and dished out seven assists, while Omer Asik finished with 20 points and 16 rebounds. Chandler Parsons added 16 points, a career-high 11 assists and six boards. Jeremy Lin poured in 14 points to go with nine dimes for Houston (24-22), which has put together back-to-back wins for the first time in nearly three weeks.

Deron Williams led the Nets (26-18) 27 points and 11 assists. Brooklyn has lost two contests in a row for the first time since P.J. Carlesimo took over the coaching duties after the club fired Avery Johnson. Brook Lopez chipped in 21 points, seven rebounds and five blocks, but the Brooklyn big man and his fellow Nets hardly made their presence felt on the defensive end. The Rockets shot 49.4 percent overall and outscored Brooklyn 60-24 in the paint.

QUOTABLE: "I've said it all year long. It's how we need to play, but we've got to be determined to do it. ... You have to be determined to just keep on going. ... When guys are crisp and moving, it becomes a lot of different actions that people have to guard."

-- Houston coach Kevin McHale on pushing the tempo

THE STAT: The Rockets torched the Nets with rapid, decisive ball movement, assisting on 31 of 43 baskets. Houston, which has dished out dimes on at least 61.8 percent of its field goals in six consecutive games, has an assist-to-bucket ratio of 133-to-202 (65.8 percent) over its last six contests. The Rockets improved to 5-1 this season when they distribute at least 30 assists.

TURNING POINT: Williams carried Brooklyn in the first quarter, but the Nets were unable to control the pace once he focused solely on facilitating. With Brooklyn throwing up bricks -- misfiring on 10 of its first 11 field-goal attempts in the second period -- the Rockets were able to jump start their transition game and generate easy buckets. Houston scored on 11 of its first 14 possessions in the second as it went on a 25-6 run that turned a 29-28 deficit into a 53-35 advantage.

QUOTABLE II: "Maybe we were a step slow [defensively]. I don't know if I'm communicating enough and contesting enough, but we have to change what we're doing and get back to doing what works."

-- Brook Lopez on the Nets failure to stop the Rockets

HOT: Williams was unconscious in the opening period, manhandling the Rockets' point guards en route to 20 points on 7-for-7 shooting overall and 4-for-4 shooting from 3-point range. For good measure, Williams capped his first-quarter onslaught by burying a 26-footer with Toney Douglas' hand in his face. No player has scored more points in one period against Houston this season.

NOT: Aside from Williams, the Nets' starting five was practically non-existent on the offensive end before halftime. Lopez, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace and Reggie Evans combined for only 11 points on 15.0 percent shooting (3-for-20) in the first half.

GOOD MOVE: Houston utilized dribble-penetration quite effectively to break down Brooklyn's defense. Harden, Lin and Parsons each remained committed to attacking the rim, which helped the trio create plenty of layups for themselves and high-percentage looks for the rest of the Rockets.

QUOTABLE III: "We just played our game. That's what we're here for ... to be aggressive and to make plays not only for ourselves, but our teammates as well."

-- James Harden

BAD MOVE: Williams seemed to lose his edge and aggression after his torrid start, attempting only five shots over the next two quarters. Although Williams did not need to resort to "hero ball," he certainly could have looked to score first more often with his teammates struggling to find success on the offensive end.

NOTABLE: The Rockets announced moments before tipoff that they have lifted rookie Royce White's suspension. White is expected to join Houston's Developmental League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, on Feb. 11. ... Williams was ejected with 1:07 remaining in the fourth quarter after sharing some unpleasant words with an official. He refused to speak with the media after the game. ... The Rockets have won 12 consecutive games against the Nets. ... Brooklyn fell to 1-7 this season when playing the second game of a back-to-back set on the road. .... Houston improved to 5-0 this season when it pours in at least 60 points in the paint. ... The Rockets have recorded 16 60-point halves this season. ... Houston has grabbed at least 10 more rebounds than each of its last two opponents. ... The Rockets are now 10-3 when they drain more 3-pointers than their opponent. ... Houston forward Marcus Morris grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds.

UP NEXT: For the Nets, Monday vs. Orlando, Wednesday vs. Miami, Friday vs. Chicago. For the Rockets, Monday @ Utah, Wednesday @ Denver, Saturday vs. Charlotte.