Casspi provides spark in preseason opener

Casspi provides spark in preseason opener
October 5, 2013, 11:30 pm
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The Rockets’ free agent acquisition had a monster game on Saturday night.

No. Not that one.

Omri Casspi, the forgotten free agent pickup by the Rockets this offseason, provided a major spark, scoring 20 points in just under 21 minutes off the bench in the team’s 116-115 loss.

“Big. Big,” Harden said. “He was very impressive. I think he missed one shot, knocking down threes, getting to the basket, blocking shots, helping his teammates out. He did a great job tonight.”

Casspi is in his fifth NBA season. He spent the previous two years with the Cavaliers. Casspi averaged 4.0 points and 2.7 rebounds in the 2012-13 season. It was his worst season in his four NBA years. For his career, he has averaged 7.9 and 3.9.

Casspi, 25, might be a major acquisition with the loss of Carlos Delfino, who left during free agency to join the Bucks. Delfino provided veteran leadership for a young club and played the power forward position when the team wanted to go with a smaller lineup. Casspi isn’t there yet but one game in, his head coach was impressed and thinks he could eventually fill that role.

“Omri was making shots and he was playing,” Kevin McHale said. “He really knows how to get open, does a lot of good stuff for us. Gotta get him up to speed on what we’re doing defensively and get him in better help positions and things. But I thought overall that he played well offensively for us. He gave us a spark. We had a unit out there that didn’t have many scorers on it, so Omri had to score a little bit.”