Houston (CBS HOUSTON) – Terrence Jones saw action in four of the Rockets first seven games, logging a total of 16 minutes. In Monday’s 110-104 double overtime win over Toronto he played 32 minutes, including every second in both extra sessions signaling a possible shift in Kevin McHale’s rotation.
Omer Asik and Dwight Howard started the game together, but with the Rockets trailing 12-11 halfway through the first quarter Asik was replaced by Omer Casspi, and the two centers never shared the floor the rest of the night. After the game, McHale wouldn’t say if going away from the big lineup would be permanent, but he did admit its something he’s been thinking about.
“(Asik) and Dwight are true centers,” he said after the game. “The spacing does get a little bit jammy up there.”
McHale has been aware that the “twin towers” lineup hasn’t been successful, but I think he stuck with it because he had no other options; at least that’s how he saw it. On Monday, with Francisco Garcia out with the flu, he was forced to go deeper into his bench, and in doing so he might’ve found his guy.
“He made Rudy (Gay) take a lot of tough shots,” James Harden said after the game. “He guarded 3’s, 4’s, I mean, he gives us a lot of energy, a lot of athleticism at the four.”
Along with being part of the group that held Rudy Gay to 11-for-37 from the field, Jones grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked four shots. Not bad for a guy who really hasn’t played a meaningful minute all year long.
He’s still a work in progress. He’ll have his defensive lapses, and he needs to get better from behind the arc, but there is a lot of talent there. Hopefully his 32 minutes on Monday is a sign of things to come, but he wasn’t the only bench guy to have a big game.
Jeremy Lin was the Rockets best offensive player during the second half. He scored 31 points, needing just 17 shots to get it. He got to the basket, and he shot it well, knocking down have of his six three point tries. He gave the Rockets the lead for good with a nifty left handed reverse layup late in the second overtime.
The Rockets are now 5-3, and will head East for the first time this season. They’ll take on the Sixers Wednesday night followed by New York on Thursday. I don’t know if Kevin McHale is sold on Terrence Jones, but I’d say there’s a good chance he’ll get a few more opportunities.
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