News And Notes: October 31, 2013
Injury updates, Howard's dominance, and Parsons reflects on the Rockets' defensive ceiling
HOUSTON - After sustaining minor injuries during Wednesday’s regular season opener against Charlotte, Rockets guards James Harden (sore wrist, back) and Patrick Beverley (bruised ribs) did not take part in Houston’s practice Thursday afternoon.
Both players are listed as day-to-day so there’s at least a decent chance they’ll be considered game-time decisions heading into Friday’s tilt against the Dallas Mavericks.
Houston Head Coach Kevin McHale mentioned that Jeremy Lin took part in about half of Thursday’s workout, but said he fully expects Lin to be ready and available to play Friday night.
Just how dominant was Dwight Howard during his regular season Rockets debut? You already know he tied his career-high by corralling 26 rebounds. Here’s another stat to lend perspective to his big night on the boards: During the 35 minutes Howard was on the floor Wednesday night, Houston snagged a remarkable 46.2 percent of their missed shots. Just as noteworthy, the Rockets produced an offensive efficiency rating (points per 100 possessions) of 112.8 and a defensive rating of 92.8 while Howard played, according to NBA.com. Each of those numbers, by the way, would have led the league in their respective categories a year ago.
One more stat courtesy of NBA.com, this time highlighting the tremendous boost off the bench provided by Francisco Garcia: The Rockets enjoyed a OER of 118.3 and a DER of 84.7 during his 30 minutes of play.
Lastly, Chandler Parsons got my attention last night when I asked him for his thoughts regarding this Houston team’s defensive ceiling. His response: “I think we can be the best defense in the league.”
Cue the 'You had my curiosity, but now you have my attention' meme.
That’s a mighty big statement, especially given the suffocating defenses possessed by teams like Miami, Chicago and Indiana (among others). But it’s borne of the confidence that comes with playing with a pair of Defensive Player of the Year candidates and that belief has only been boosted by Houston’s most recent efforts against Charlotte and its final two preseason affairs against Memphis and San Antonio. The combined preseason field goal percentages from the Rockets’ opponents during that stretch: 36.4 percent.
Parsons delved deeper into his thinking after today’s practice.
“With our big lineup, we have so much size and we’re going to be such a good rebounding team,” he began. “Like I’ve said all along, when you have Dwight and Omer up there that gives wings the confidence to be aggressive and be more active while getting in passing lanes. So it gives you more freedom defensively to make reads and make gambles that you wouldn’t really necessarily do with another lineup. Now when we go small, we’ve got to be more solid, but that starting five, having Patrick Beverley pressuring you 94 feet and those two big guys behind you, it just gives you that confidence that I don’t think a lot of teams have.
“Defense takes time and you have to be comfortable with each other and understand each other’s habits. There’s a lot of great defensive teams, I just think that we do have the potential to be the best team with our size and athleticism. We’re pretty good now and we’re only going to get better as we acquire more chemistry and familiarity as a group.”