Parsons, Rockets ready for LeBron and Heat

Parsons, Rockets ready for LeBron and Heat
March 4, 2014, 12:15 pm
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(USA Today Images)

Chandler Parsons went out to a restaurant. Jeremy Lin watched a movie. James Harden answered with a simple “no.”

The Rockets might not have watched the Miami Heat’s 124-107 win over the Bobcats on Monday night, but they found out what happened.

LeBron went off.

LeBron James scored 61 points on 67 percent shooting to go along with seven rebounds and five assists. He was the first player to go 61-7-5 since 2004 and it was just the fourth such game since 1985. And the Rockets have to try to stop LeBron and his red-hot Heat at the Toyota Center on Tuesday night.

“I saw the tweets, I saw the highlights and then I watched it this morning,” said Rockets small forward Chandler Parsons. “I’m not surprised. He’s one of the best scorers to ever play. He’s the best player in the game right now so he’s going to have nights like that. I just have to be physical with him, try to limit his touches and just try to make him take jump shots over a contested hand.”

Parsons remembers the first time he was assigned to cover LeBron – it was the second-to-last game during Parsons’ rookie season. It didn’t go great. In fact, Parsons tore the labrum in his right shoulder trying to run through a dribble-screen.

“Yeah, he’ s a pretty big dude,” Parsons said, drawing laughs from media members.

Yeah, he is. And, again on Tuesday night, Parsons, who gives up about 20 pounds, will have to try to slow down LeBron, who scored 32 points in that game during Parsons’ rookie season. Now, James is coming off a 61-point explosion and his team is on an eight-game winning streak.

“Yeah, you look forward to a matchup like that,” Parsons said. “I’ve watched him my whole life and he’s one of the best players ever to play. So not a lot of people can do well against him, defend him, but I look forward to giving it a shot.”

“Even before last night, he’s a great player,” James Harden said. “LeBron, he’s one of the best players in this league. We’re going to approach it the same way, do our defensive principles, play together and try to get stops as a team.”

James is probably the league’s MVP again this season (or is second) and his team isn’t just the hottest team in the NBA, they’re also the defending champions. The Rockets have done well against some of the NBA’s top teams this year but this might be the biggest test yet.

“It’s right up there, it’s right up there,” Jeremy Lin said. “Yeah, you’re talking about the defending champions and they’re on an eight-game win streak so it’s as big of a test as we’ll ever face.”