Rockets finish preseason on a six-game winning streak

Rockets finish preseason on a six-game winning streak
October 25, 2013, 10:30 pm
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Matt Bullard goes 1-on-1 with Jeremy Lin after win

(Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports)

The Houston Rockets closed out the preseason with their best defensive performance, holding the Memphis Grizzlies to just 20 percent shooting in the first half on their way to a dominant, 92-73 win.

Houston finished the preseason winning their final six games, including the last three against teams in the southwest division, Dallas, San Antonio and Memphis.

Naturally, the Rockets were hoping to establish some on-court chemistry during the preseason, which they clearly have done. But most importantly they had the same goal as each of the other 29 NBA teams, stay healthy. Well, the Rockets got a full-fledged scare on Friday night.

Star guard James Harden went down in a heap about eight minutes into the game and was down on the court in quite a bit of pain. He had just launched a 3-pointer and as he landed back on the court, Grizzlies forward Quincy Pondexter ran right through his through him with Harden's right knee drawing the full brunt of the blow.

Harden eventually got up and limped to the free throw line. He shot and made the free throw to complete the four-point play, but the Rockets intentionally fouled immediately following the free throw so Harden could go to the locker room.

It was deemed a right knee contusion and, according to head coach Kevin McHale, it's not believed to be serious.

"He bumped his knee," McHale said. "He'll be fine."

McHale did not appear very concerned with Harden's injury and the Rockets will now wait until Wednesday to begin the 2013-2014 season when they face Charlotte at Toyota Center at 7 p.m.

With Omer Asik recovering from his calf injury, he was able to start the final three preseason games alongside Dwight Howard. That's just one of many lineup combinations McHale and the coaching staff was able to evaluate.

Rockets guard Jeremy Lin said after Friday night's game he was ready for the season to get underway.

"It's been a long preseason," Lin said. "Everybody is just ready for the season to start.

"We feel really optimistic. I think we all understand there's a long way to go, but I think we've shown ourselves what we're potentially capable of. I think we're all excited to get it going."