McHale impressed by Jones, Motiejunas
The Rockets continue to dig deeper and deeper into their bench with an injury to Greg Smith and the unavailability of Omer Asik, and have been finding success with Terrence Jones and now also with Donatas Motiejunas. Houston used excellent performances from each, push past the Nuggets 122-111 on Saturday night at Toyota Center.
Their performances made it easy to recall a comment made by highly-respected Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle after the Mavericks were beaten in the preseason here in Houston.
“I was looking at their third team out there and they looked like a real NBA team," Carlisle said. "This is a very, very deep team. They are very, very good. (They) have a lot of weapons, a lot of spacers, a lot of drivers, and so they are going to be tough to play.”
That was very evident in this particular game. Jones tied career highs in points with 14 and rebounds with 12. Motiejunas had played only nine minutes all season, but was called on early tonight and produced the best and most important work of his brief career.
Motiejunas had 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting, grabbed three rebounds and blocked a shot – all in just 16 minutes.
“Those two were extremely impressive in training camp and extremely good in the preseason games,” Jeremy Lin said. “We have so much talent on this team. We have so many guys who can play. That’s just the beauty of this team.”
With just 11 players in uniform on Saturday, the Rockets needed some guys to step up and clearly Jones and Motiejunas were among those that did.
“I’m just so proud of both of those guys,” Dwight Howard said. “I see the work that they put in every day, after practice and before practice.
“Both of those guys, they came in right away (tonight), made some great plays on the offensive end and defensive end. Like I told you at the beginning of the season, I thought those two guys were going to make a difference on this team.”
Rockets head coach Kevin McHale said he expects the two young bigs to keep to get their chances to help the team when they play again on Tuesday against the Boston Celtics and likely longer if their strong play continues.
“When you don’t play for a long time, confidence is the thing you have to find first,” Motiejunas said. “You just try to make the simple plays to bring out the confidence and let the game come to you. I’m proud of Terrence, I think he did a great job. I told him that I’m happy for him. We were competing for playing time. We seemed to make the most of it (our time on the court).”