For the third straight game they were without James Harden. After four minutes, Jeremy Lin went down and didn’t return. It didn’t matter. On the night before Thanksgiving, the Rockets prepped for Turkey by feasting on some Hawks in a 113-84 win.
Lin left the game with what the Rockets are calling a bruised right knee.
“The x-rays were negative,” Rockets head coach Kevin McHale said afterwards. “I think what happened is that he got hit right on the nerve, so he pinched a nerve and his leg kinda went numb, or he couldn’t push off on it and stuff.”
McHale wasn’t sure about Lin’s availability for Friday’s game against Brooklyn, but was encouraged that the guard was able to walk out of the locker room.
Without Lin and Harden, it was the Rockets bench that again stepped up, as the game’s high scorers came off the Rockets bench. Francisco Garcia and Aaron Brooks scored 21 points apiece, knocking down seven of their 12 three-point tries. In the three games Harden has missed, Brooks has put up 50 points. Not bad for a guy that had scored four points in the Rockets previous nine games.
“We are a talented team,” Brooks said. “A lot of guys are working out and have a lot of energy that are ready to play. When Jeremy (Lin) goes out, guys are stepping up and are ready to play.”
Houston never trailed in the game, and hasn’t trailed at any point in their last three games played at Toyota Center. They made life easier on themselves by only turning the ball over 13 times.
“We’ve got such a balanced team and when we play like that and when we move the ball, when we play unselfish, we’re very hard to guard,” Chandler Parsons, who chipped in 14 points himself, said.
The rout started with a 30-19 first quarter spurted by another great start from Terrence Jones. He scored nine points, making all four shots he took. The Rockets led 56-45 at the break, but the Hawks climbed to within a handful of points midway through the third, only to see the Rockets finished the game with a 48-24 run.
Since the loss in Dallas last Wednesday, the Rockets have won three straight to up their record to 11-5.
After taking Thanksgiving Day off, they’ll host a struggling Nets team on Friday, then head to San Antonio the next night for a showdown with the Spurs. On the surface, Nets and Spurs might not sound overly appetizing after a big Thanksgiving Day meal, but do me a favor a just go with the metaphor.
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