• Print
Saturday January 1, 2011 3:22 AM

Rockets End 2010 On Winning Note

Houston's second unit carries club to 114-105 win over Raptors

West Medlin

HOUSTON - Houston hosted Toronto on New Year’s Eve in what had the potential to be a classic letdown game for both teams. The Rockets were coming off a hard fought loss to Miami while the Raptors arrived in town on the heels of a surprise upset against the Mavericks in Dallas. Both teams knew, regardless of who won, confetti would be dropped and champagne would be toasted later that night.

But after a shaky start it was the Rockets who emerged with far more to celebrate more than just a mere calendar change as Houston defeated the Raptors 114-105, ending the year with a .500 record.

The road to .500 was not easy as the Rockets struggled in the first quarter, quickly digging themselves into a 14-point hole. Kevin Martin carried the offense early with 13 of the team’s 20 first-quarter points. “They were outworking us in every area,” Coach Adelman said. “Then the bench came in and they turned the thing around. It was an energy change.”

In spite of the injury problems Houston has faced this season, the second quarter showed that depth can still be a strength for this team. The Rockets exploded for 42 points in the second quarter, with much of the heavy lifting coming from the bench. Brad Miller’s orchestration of the offense from the high post and Patrick Patterson’s hustle at both ends of the court helped to spark the second quarter run.

Chase Budinger also provided strong second-quarter production for the second game in a row, pouring in 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting in the frame. “I just feel good right now, it feels good shooting the ball,” Budinger said. “My confidence is up.” Budinger finished the game with a team-high 22 points which is also his season high.

Patrick Patterson took advantage of the minutes created by the recent ankle injury to Chuck Hayes. He played with a fire, highlighted by his ability to crash the boards. It was a big game for Patterson -- his first opportunity to play significant minutes with the team. There were a lot of firsts for the rookie as he scored a career high 15 points while also posting his first career double-double. However, in just his fourth game played, Patterson’s robust performance appeared to surprise no one on the team. “He’s played well in practice all year long,” Adelman said. “He just needs the opportunity.”

The only first that surprised anyone was most likely the shaving-cream pie to the face Patterson received from Brad Miller while Patterson fielded questions from the media swarmed around his locker. “Pieing” a teammate during a post-game interview is typically a practice seen only in baseball, but Miller announced it was time to “get a little baseball around here.”

Whether he was raising eyebrows with his strong performance or taking a pie to the face, Patterson handled it all in stride. “It would be better if it was an apple pie, at least I could eat that,” Patterson said. “I’ll take another pie again whenever it happens if I do something good.”

DeMar Derozan led Toronto with an impressive 37 points, but it was not enough to overcome Houston’s bench play. Overall, the Rockets’ second unit outscored the Raptors’ 65-23. “We won this game because of our bench,” Kevin Martin said. “If it wasn’t for our bench tonight, it would have been a long night for us.”

Houston completed a month of play that saw them climb from a record of 5-12 to finish the year at .500 and eyeing one of the final playoff spots. In January, the schedule becomes much more difficult, but the Rockets have until midnight before 2011 officially arrives. Until that time, the win tonight gives the team an additional reason to celebrate.


(On the game) “It was a good win. The bench did a good job. The guys off the bench came in both the 2nd and 4th quarter and did a nice job for us. Patrick (Patterson) was terrific. He hasn't played for awhile and Brad (Miller) was good. The whole bench, Chase (Budinger), they all stepped up.”

(On Chase Budinger) “I think he's been playing better. I think he got some opportunities. He had a nice combination of trying to get to the basket tonight and taking his 3's. He's playing with more confidence.”

(On rating his team's performance on a scale of 1 to 10) “I wouldn't give it a 10 because once we got down early and then we came back, we had the lead for a while, we kind of let them come back once they started playing the zone. So, I wouldn't give it a 10.

(On getting back to .500) “We have to approach it the same way (on the upcoming games). We got back to .500. Last game before this one, we slipped against Miami (Heat) and now we want to stay at .500 and continue to get better. We're just going to go with the same mentality to go out there and execute ourselves on the offensive and defensive end and hopefully come out with the win.”

(On the play of the Rocket's bench tonight) “We knew that the starters worked extremely hard in the first quarter and we wanted to come out and provide a lot of energy. The coach (Adelman) was telling us to just play hard, work hard and rebound and play defense and the offense will come. We wanted to focus on getting stops and limiting their rebounding and touches on the inside and that is what we were fortunate enough to do.”

(On him trying to help fill in for the injured Chuck Hayes) “I hate to step on the court because a teammate goes down, but I saw it as an opportunity and I tried to seize the moment. I understood that someone was going to have to step up and play and replace Chuck (Hayes). More bigs were going to have to get more minutes and provide more energy. I felt like I had to come out there and rebound because that is what the coaches wanted me to do.”
(On the play of the Rockets bench) “We won this game because of our bench. If it wasn't for our bench tonight, it would have been a long night for us.”

(On the importance of the win) “This was a very important game for us to close out the year. It's like we all say, the season begins now. The teams that we're going to be playing will all be fighting for the six, seventh and eighth playoff spot. We have to be ready every game.”

(On his shooting) “It's been up and down. I went through this already where I had a couple of good games in a row but then missed some shots. I just feel good right now. It feels good shooting the ball out there. My confidence is back.”

(On the bench providing relief in the second quarter tonight) “That's the goal of the second unit, to come in and bring that energy and if we're down, to try to cut that lead as fast as we can. We did a great job tonight at just coming in and bringing that energy. It really helped us. Most of the starters did a good job, but some games like this, they're not going to do too well at the beginning of the games and that's where we have to come in and help them out.”

(On his team’s play)     “With only eight healthy bodies we needed more guys to play better. We struggled with finishing inside or it might have been a different game.”

(On the key to the game)     “They went to their bench and their guys stepped up and played well getting 65 points.”

(On Amir Johnson’s play)    “He’s going to have to score points for us to be successful. When we spread the floor, he must attack the basket. He needs to get to the basket and defend better,”
(On he key to the game)     “We gave up 42 points in the second quarter and got into foul trouble and that killed us. We missed too many lay ups. It was tough. We tried to come back but they killed us.”
(On his play)     “I wanted to play aggressively. I try and watch the flow of the game and then try and get our team going. They needed me to step and force them to foul me. I was able to finish and draw the contact.”
(On the game)     “We had a great first quarter and our second quarter was poor. Houston’s bench gave them energy and it was tough for us to handle.”

(On the Rockets and their play)    “They play a run and gun game and everybody seems to be comfortable and has the freedom to shoot. Miller (Brad) is a really good passer and when he is on the elbow he opens up the floor and gets them easy baskets. They have a lot of guns and defensively we couldn’t stop them”


Houston’s attendance of 18,121 tonight marks the sixth sellout at Toyota Center in 2010-11.
The Rockets returned from 14 points down in the first half for a 114-105 win tonight over the Raptors. It marked Houston’s largest deficit overcome in a victory this season (prev. high: 12 on 12/1/10 vs. L.A. Lakers).
With tonight’s victory, Houston upped its record to 7-4 in games played on New Year’s Eve.

The Houston bench outscored the Toronto reserves by a 65-23 margin tonight. The Raptors reserves outscored the Rockets bench by a 46-11 count in the last meeting at Toronto (11/19/10).
The Rockets recorded a season-best 42 second-quarter points tonight, which stands as their highest scoring quarter of the season. The previous best was 40 fourth-quarter points done twice (last: 12/20/10 at Golden State).
With a 62-point first half, Houston has hit the 60-point mark in a half 15 times already in 2010-11. The Rockets posted 18 such halves overall in 2009-10.
Chase Budinger, who had 11 points (4-8 FG, 3-3 3FG) in the prior game vs. Miami (12/29/10), led six Rockets in double-figure scoring with a season-high 22 points (8-10 FG, 3-5 3FG), five rebounds and four assists. Overall, it was the third 20-point performance of his career.
Kevin Martin finished with 20 points (6-12 FG, 7-9 FT) tonight. He has now scored 20 or more points in each of the last eight consecutive outings (12/15/10-12/31/10). It stands as Houston’s longest single-season streak since Tracy McGrady’s run of 10 straight 20-point games back in 2006-07 (3/14/07-4/1/07).
Patrick Patterson posted the first double-double of his career with career bests of 15 points (6-9 FG) and 10 boards.
Brad Miller recorded 11 points (5-10 FG), seven rebounds and a season-high six assists. His previous high was five assists done twice (last: 11/29/10 at Dallas).
DeMar DeRozan registered a career-high 37 points (12-21 FG, 13-14 FT), surpassing his previous career high of 26 points at Orlando (11/12/10).
Three Raptors had double-doubles tonight, which was the first time that has occurred since Andrea Bargnani (18 pts., 10 reb.), T.J. Ford (21 pts., 14 ast.) and Jorge Garbajosa (18 pts., 11 reb.) on Dec. 17, 2006 vs. Golden State.
Linas Kleiza totaled 17 points (7-21 FG) and 12 boards, which marked his fourth double-double of the season. Amir Johnson had 14 points (5-12 FG) and 11 rebounds for his fifth double-double of 2010-11. Jose Calderon added 11 points (3-4 3FG) and 11 assists to give him four double-double on the season.
Leandro Barbosa notched 17 points (8-13 FG) tonight. He has now scored 10-plus points in 10 consecutive games off the bench (12/10/10-12/31/10).

Got a question for Rockets.com? Send it to Jason Friedman. And for up to the second news and injury updates follow the Rockets and Jason on Twitter.