Houston Rockets beat Mavericks- Player Grades
Houston Rockets beat Mavericks to move to 5-1 in preseason. Here’s the player grades.
Houston Rockets got back in the win column with a solid victory over the Mavericks in Dallas.
After a narrow loss to the Grizzlies in double overtime the Houston Rockets returned to form. Traveling back from China obviously left the players feeling fatigued, but against the Mavs there was no signs of weary legs.
— Space City Scoop (@SpaceCity_Scoop) October 20, 2016
Breaking down the quarters:
Houston Rockets jumped out to the early lead taking a 27-22 lead in the first quarter
In the second quartet the Rockets built on their lead taking the frame 20-16 and with that a 47-38 lead into half time.
Dallas Mavericks won the third quarter 29-25, the only quarter the Mavs would master.
The final frame also went to the Rockets where they posted a 34-24 score.
Overall, the Rockets controlled the game and the best sign is Houston seem to have learned from last years’ bad habit of letting teams back into games.
Though Clint Capela entered the night still recovering from a minor injury he suited up to start. Patrick Beverley remained on the sidelines however.
As for figuring out which way Mike D’Antoni is leaning regarding the 15th roster spot he tipped his hat toward Kyle Wiltjer. Based on training camp invitees minutes Wiltjer led the pack with 12 minutes playing time.
The big question yet to be answered is whether the Houston Rockets franchise will decide to send Onuaku to Rio Valley Grande Vipers and sign him to a D-League contract. If Houston does that they can still sign Wiltjer and resolve the Donatas Motiejunas contract issues.
Digging deeper into the game the training camp invitees who saw few to no minutes were Gary Payton Jr, Bobby Brown, Chinanu Onuaku, and PJ Hairston.
Continuing another trend is three Rockets youngsters seem to be impressing D’Antoni. KJ McDaniels tops the list with 28 minutes and appears to have been freed from his shackles. Montrezl Harrell and Tyler Ennis also got decent minutes after their strong performances in the double OT loss versus Memphis.
No one starter played more than 29 minutes, but given the Houston Rockets jumped on the Mavericks early there was no need. Each of the starters looked like they had recovered from jet lag and some had much better performances than their last outing.
Funny, I watched the NBA TV Open Court television show tonight and the Rockets weren’t even a consideration in the conversation. Conversely, several of the former players cited the Mavericks with having a shot to be top 4 in the West.
Having completed several podcasts with FanSided experts I can tell you hardly anyone sees the Mavericks as “that” team. From my perspective they could be a dark horse – – to get into the playoffs, but I sure don’t see them being a top-4 seed.
The Rockets on the other hand appear to be much more cohesive and even their defense appears to be taking forward strides.
Of the youngsters, again it seems D’Antoni is ready to utilize McDaniels liberally. What isn’t known is whether Harrell who seems to have gained some respect from the coach retains those MPG if the franchise settles the Motiejunas dispute.
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The other note to take from tonight’s game is Tyler Ennis is quietly taking advantage of Beverley and Prigioni’s injuries to build a case for himself. Keep an eye on this situation as my money is on Ennis endearing D’Antoni as he offers a change of pace to the starters. Further, it’s clear he is calm on the court which is something Prigioni was regarded for. Given Ennis can also defend I think he’ll end up gaining playing time as the season progresses.
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The Houston Rockets will close out their preseason on Friday in San Antonio.