Terrence Jones: Was ready for the opportunity
With Francisco Garcia not even at the arena for the Houston Rockets game on Monday night against the Raptors, due to flu-like symptoms, it was clear the rotation would be altered. Nobody figured, though, that Terrence Jones play more than 32 minutes, including all ten minutes of the two overtimes.
Even more surprising was that he got the start in the second half, meaning for the first time in the eight games this season, Rockets centers Omer Asik and Dwight Howard did not start a half of a game on the court together.
“I thought Terrence played really well.” Rockets head coach Kevin McHale said. “Coming into the year I really thought that Terrence (Jones) or D-Mo (Donatas Motiejunas) was going to have to play that side of the ball and really take that thing.
“It just seemed through training camp, it just seemed up and down, up and down, but Terrence worked hard and he's been doing all his work. For Terrence to not play and go out and play 32 minutes, that’s hard to do,” McHale added. “He kept running. I was proud of him. He's a second-year player. I told him when you get a chance, just stick with it. I thought he did a really good job.”
Jones wasn’t preparing for anything special tonight.
“I just came like I do ever game, just prepared to play if coach gave me the opportunity,” Jones said after his 10-rebound, seven point evening.
“I think I did real well, we came out with the win so that’s good,” he said. “Man it (the game) took a long time, but as long as it ended the way it did, I’m fine with it.”
The 32 minutes played were a career high for Jones and the energy he brought was a welcome addition.
“Terrence was great, I thought his energy was amazing on both ends of the floor,” Dwight Howard said. “I think he was the x-factor, especially on the defensive end. I think he also had four blocks. That was great.”
He also got the second half start at power forward, with Howard sliding to the center spot in place of Omer Asik. McHale hinted before the game that he has been looking more closely at how the team has played with Asik and Howard on the floor together.
After the game he still wasn’t sure how things would be moving forward.
“I’ve been thinking about it,” McHale said. “I’ll take a look at the film and look at everything and we’ll see where we go from here.
“The big lineup to start off, I’m 50-50 on that,” he said. “He (Omer) and Dwight are true centers and the spacing does get a little jammy out there.”
The door for Jones opened tonight and it could be that it stays open for him as they hit the road for a pair of games, Wednesday at Philadelphia, then Thursday in New York.