You wouldn’t think there would be a lot to be happy about after dropping a home opener to a team that dares to call themselves the Pelicans, but it was all roses for the Rockets Saturday night after their 116-115 loss to New Orleans.
Dwight Howard made his Houston Rocket debut and played very well, hitting 6-11 shots for 19 points, 9 boards, 3 assists and a block in 27 minutes. James Harden looked to be in midseason form, scoring 21 points in 28 minutes. Jeremy Lin looked sharp (11 points, 4 assists, 3 steals) and seemed to click with Howard at times while Chandler Parsons was very efficient playing off the stars, hitting 4-5 shots.
And to add to all that, the Rockets may have found some offense off the bench. Omri Casspi hit his first nine shots. It was a good first showing.
But what stole the show may have been the defensive play of Patrick Beverley in the early fourth quarter against New Orleans newcomer Jrue Holiday. This was ownership, head games of the highest order. Beverley flat picked Holiday’s pocket three times with on-the-ball pressure, then sandwiched those around a fourth block-like steal. Keep in mind — this is a player that was an All-Star point guard last year in the East. Yes, Holiday is turnover-prone, but what Beverley did to him shows how elite his defensive play can be for stretches.
“During my playing time, you’d punch Beverley in the face,” said Calvin Murphy in the postgame. “You can’t have him taking the ball from you in front of your mama and your wife.”
Take a look.