On a night where the Rockets got a win and James Harden returned to the lineup after a two-game absence due to injury and led the team in scoring, it's hard to believe that's not the headlining act.
The Rockets' other All-Star, Dwight Howard, had an extremely efficient 26 points, on 10-of-12 shooting, which tied his best shooting performance of the season. But that wasn't at the front of the storylines for the Rockets third straight win either. Instead it was the tempo-pushing, creative-minded point guards that turned in the most important and spectacular performances of the night.
Jeremy Lin came off the Rockets bench to produce the team's first triple-double of the season with 15 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. Patrick Beverley grabbed 10 rebounds, had eight assists and had a career-high five steals. He became the first NBA player to post those numbers, while scoring zero points, since steals became an official statistic in 1973-74.
For Lin it was the first career triple-double for the fourth year player and the first triple-double produced by a Rockets reserve since Mar. 31, 1998 when Cedric Maxwell registered 23 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assist at Indiana. Lin's 11 rebounds also set a career-high. It's just the fifth triple-double in the NBA by a player coming off the bench in the last eight seasons.
"I never really thought about that (triple-double) until everyone was telling me it was about to happen," Lin said. "It's just humbling to think about this whole journey and now this. It's another cool thing. I think anytime you get on the floor, you have a chance to do it, just make an impact."
"Jeremy (Lin) came off the bench and did a tremendous job and played an overall good game and got a triple-double," Harden said. "It's a good accomplishment. It's a great individual accomplishment for you to be able to get a triple-double, that means you are doing everything well and I'm happy for him. That's hard to do. I mean I came off the bench and I've never done it. It's just hard to be able to score the basketball, grab rebounds and pass the ball, get your teammates involved off the bench. It's tough, but like I said, he's talented enough to do it and he did it."
Beverley, who played more than 40 minutes for just the third time this season, could not find his range in this game, missing all five of his shots, with all five coming from behind the 3-point line. He's now 18-of-63 (28.6 percent) shooting in the seven games he's played since returning from a broken hand. But despite not scoring any points in the game, Beverley had a huge impact on the game. As usual his activity and ability to help the Rockets push tempo and paired with Lin for much of the game, helped push the Rockets to 29 fast break points, tying a season high.
"Unbelievable, That's what we need, that's the type of effort we ed from guys throughout this team," Harden said about Beverley's performance. "He didn't score any points, he went 0-for-5 from the field, he had 10 rebounds, eight assists, five steals. He just played well."