Jones on his big night
The Houston Rockets have not had a problem getting leads on their opponents, but they have had trouble maintaining them. After taking a 22 point first quarter lead on the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night, they had no such trouble. They never allowed the Celtics to draw closer than 18 points after that point and claimed a 109-85 victory, their third in a row.
The Rockets have now led by at least ten points in six straight games, although they’ve won only four of them. They have led by at least ten points in all but two of their games this year, but at no point after they initially built a double figure lead against Boston, was the result in doubt.
A barrage of blocked shots and fast breaks and alley oops in the game’s first few minutes, were much more that the new-look Celtics (4-8) could handle from Houston (8-4).
Houston blocked three shots, all from Dwight Howard, in the game’s first five minutes and all three were followed by fast break layup on the other end. By the time five minutes had been played, the Rockets already had an 18-1 lead and the Celtics were 0-of-9 from the floor. The Rockets never looked back, pushing the lead out to 35 points in the second half.
Terrence Jones, making his fourth start, had six points and three rebounds during that opening blitz and has clearly sparked the Rockets since his promotion to the starting lineup.
“I think he’s played well every chance he’s gotten,” Rockets head coach Kevin McHale said. “He’s really been big rebounding for us. (He’s) been running well for us.
“He’s got really good hands, he catches, he finishes around the basket,” McHale said. “He can do some stuff on the perimeter that keeps the defense more stretched. Terrence does a lot of really good things for us. He’s just going to get better.”
He did all those things on Tuesday night. Jones finished with a career-high 24 points, making all but two of his 12 shots. He also added nine rebounds and two blocked shots.
Since joining the rotation five games ago, Jones is averaging 12.2 points, 10 rebounds and 2.4 blocks a game and is shooting 53.2 percent.
“I’m getting more comfortable and more confident,” Jones said. “I’m just trying to make the simple plays, trying to be there for cuts, offensive rebounds when I can. Just do all the things to help us win.”
“His hard work is paying off now. He’s playing phenomenal for us, bringing that energy, that spark, that toughness and defensive pressure,” guard Pat Beverley said. “Me and T(errence) Jones, we started in the D-League together, so it’s good seeing my running mate out there with me again.”