I know Golden State and Memphis might have something to say, but the Houston Rockets just put in their bid for the best team in the NBA title.
Surprisingly, Jason Terry is one of the key parts in making that statement arguable.
Don't you laugh at me, it's true.
Seriously. I did say one of the key parts. Donatas Motiejunas's post game on offense and his mobility and length on defense is one. Tarik Black is averaging 7.6 points, 7.2 rebounds and he's holding opposing power forwards to a PER of 12.2 and centers to 6.9 (per 82 games.com). James Harden himself is now transcended into super stardom, mainly due to his improvement on the defensive end (9th in DefRtg, 1st in Defensive Win Shares, and Houston as a whole is third in DefRtg). Finally, for all of Joey Doresy's ineffectiveness; the Rockets have been 16 points better on defense when Dorsey is off the floor and His Opponent Counterpart 48-Minute Production - PER of the player he is guarding - is 37.1(!), a mark would lead the NBA by four points....ok wait Joey Dorsey is not one of those reasons.
Still, Terry may have been the most effective of them all. Isaiah Caanan and Patrick Beverley both are out. At this point in his career Terry is seen by most as a championship presence and knockdown shooter off the bench. He's masterfully played the role of spark plug combo guard, that can play point guard in a pinch. As he's always been known to do. But his last two games have been a revelation at 37 years old.
His last two games: 32.5 minutes, 17.0 points, 48% from the field, 46% from three, a 120.3 OffRtg and a 100.6 DefRtg. That's insane for a player Terry's age, especially given that his last two opponents are ranked 8th (Milwaukee Bucks) and 4th (Memphis Grizzlies) in DefRtg. I know. It's two games, but you can't deny the effect he's having on the Rockets. Nick Johnson and Francisco Garcia, bless their hearts, are the only other guards currently playing minutes.
This type of "next man up" mentality is always heard in teams (usually) floundering to mask deficiencies, but Houston has scored two of its three highest point totals in the last two games, coincidence? I think not.
|Jeff Green (Celtics)||32||8-22||6-10||10-10||5||0||5||1||0||1||2||36|
|Kelly Olynyk (Celtics)||20||8-13||2-4||2-5||7||0||7||3||2||3||2||27|
|Jason Terry (Rockets)||16||5-10||3-7||3-5||3||0||3||5||4||0||2||31|
|Spencer Hawes (Clippers)||12||5-7||2-4||0-0||4||0||4||2||1||0||3||17|
|Terrence Ross (Raptors)||11||4-8||1-3||2-2||4||3||1||0||1||0||1||31|
|Aaron Brooks (Bulls)||7||3-7||1-2||0-0||3||0||3||3||0||0||2||15|
|Marvin Williams (Hornets)||6||2-5||0-2||2-2||3||0||3||0||1||0||0||25|
|Robert Sacre (Lakers)||6||3-9||0-0||0-0||5||1||4||3||0||2||0||20|
|Avery Bradley (Celtics)||6||2-5||2-3||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||26|
|Zach LaVine (Timberwolves)||6||3-6||0-2||0-0||1||0||1||0||0||0||1||15|
|Jamal Crawford (Clippers)||5||1-6||0-5||3-3||0||0||0||6||2||0||2||22|
|Aron Baynes (Spurs)||4||2-5||0-0||0-0||4||2||2||1||1||0||0||17|
|Quincy Pondexter (Grizzlies)||2||1-7||0-3||0-0||4||1||3||3||1||0||0||28|
|Nick Johnson (Rockets)||2||1-5||0-1||0-0||4||0||4||2||1||0||3||19|
|Luke Ridnour (Magic)||0||0-1||0-1||0-0||3||0||3||4||1||0||0||13|
|Martell Webster (Wizards)||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||DNP|
|Austin Daye (Spurs)||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||DNP|
|Tony Wroten (76ers)||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||DNP|
|Rony Turiaf (Timberwolves)||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||DNP|
Back out on the east, Jeff Green made a season high six threes, scoring 32 points in an overtime win over the Detroit Pistons. Green scored 14 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, including nine straight Celtic points that held off a Pistons comeback (they were down 11 at one point). Green is in the midst of a taking leadership and control on this Celtics team. Being aggressive (his 10 free throw attempts were tied for the highest this season), and demanding the ball in crunch time, Green is slowly carving a new niche during his Celtics tenure.
Avery Bradley was invisible, but Kelly Olynyk's play on both ends of the court was good, but it was his defense that was a catalyst in the win.
Jamal Crawford's stat line can be deceiving, the Clippers blew out the Magic, 114-84. Crawford sat out the last 5:43 of the game when Los Angeles was up by 29 points. That's also the reason behind Spencer Hawes's second double-digit scoring game in a row.
Also, Luke Ridnour made his return from missing the last three games with injury, but didn't do much in 13 minutes.
Terrence Ross returned to Earth after back-to-back 20 point outings with 11 points in a blowout win over the Jazz.