HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) – Depth used to be a question mark at the beginning of the season, but the Rockets’ second unit and depth have now become a strength, with Saturday being a prime example of how the bench has helped lift the team.
Against the Raptors, the Rockets reserves outscored those of their counterparts 48-17. At one point late in the first half, the Rockets bench nearly had as many points as the Raptors’ entire team.
Corey Brewer led Saturday’s bench brigade with 26 points, 10 rebounds, and five steals. In 14 games beginning on January 19, Brewer has scored in double digits in all but two of them, averaging 13.4 points over that time.
“I thought Brew(er) played great,” Kevin McHale said. “He had a Corey Brewer game with high energy, attacking the basket, and just played really well.”
“Personally, I had to bring energy,” Brewer said. “Because (the previous) night (against Dallas), I had no energy myself. So I just tried to come out and play hard, and everything just worked out (on Saturday night).”
The energy wasn’t just coming from Brewer. Josh Smith led the Rockets with eight points in the first quarter, including a couple of early three-pointers. Terrence Jones amped things up with a second-quarter sequence that included a dunk, a block, another dunk, and then a primal scream of intensity afterwards. Jones would finish with 11 points, nine rebounds, and three blocks. Over his last two games, Jones is averaging 10 points, nine rebounds, and 3.5 blocked shots. Smith is averaging 15.7 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks over his last six games.
“It’s always good when you can get the crowd into it, especially when you’re coming off the bench,” Brewer said. “That’s what we have to do. We have to get the crowd into it. We have to keep them in it. We have to help out our first unit. And that’s what we did (on Saturday night).”