Rockets get well quickly vs. the Bucks

Rockets get well quickly vs. the Bucks
January 19, 2014, 9:45 am
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(USA Today Images)

The Rockets didn’t seem too concerned about how they would perform following their extremely disappointing loss to Oklahoma City on Thursday. Maybe they are good at putting poor performances behind them or maybe it was just their opponent on Saturday night that made Thursday’s 19-point second half seem like a distant memory.

Houston’s offense never struggled in its 114-104 victory over Milwaukee and for the seventh time this season the Rockets never trailed in a game.

Asked prior to the game if he was concerned how the team would respond to the Thunder loss, Rockets head coach Kevin McHale said, “Yeah, I do. It was a bad third and fourth quarter. Our defense was solid. We had seven straight stops and seven straight blanks on the other end. We have to move on, they have to regroup and come out and play.”

The team did come out strong out of the gate, scoring on their first three possessions and taking a 6-0 lead, just 1:15 into the game. Houston scored 29 points in the first quarter, shooting 11-of-21 from the field and they only turned the ball over three times. Then Terrence Jones caught fire in the second quarter, scoring 21 points in the period, the most any Rockets player has scored in a quarter this season. He finished with a career high 36 points.

After scoring just 40 points in the paint for the entire game against the Thunder, Houston matched that total by halftime and finished with 66 points in the paint tying their season high. Probably more importantly, the Rockets not only forced turnovers, but got out and ran the floor and scored on the break. When they get the fast break cranked up they usually win. They had 24 fast break points and are now 10-2 in games where they score at least 20 or more fast break points.

“It was variety of things all night that made us to win this game,” James Harden said. “The more we can create opportunities off of our defense, the better off we’ll be. The easier the game will be for everyone.”

They were certainly opportunistic on defense with 11 steals and they converted the Bucks 20 turnovers in 26 points. It helped them win for the first time in seven games this season, while allowing their opponent to shoot 50 percent or better.

When asked after the game is he was concerned about how the team would respond after the Thunder loss, Harden said, “It was one game, and tonight was just another game. No difference,” Harden said.

Well, some difference. They easily coasted to victory and they were playing the league’s worst team.