A new era has begun
No James Harden, no problem as Rockets beat Spurs 109-105
The Houston Rockets recorded their first win without the star power of James Harden versus the San Antonio Spurs. After a chaotic Harden press conference, the Rockets held various team meetings, so the focus was not forgotten. Thursday night, Christian Wood led the way with 27 points and 15 rebounds, and got some help along the way from Sterling Brown and Jae' Sean Tate. It was a back-and-forth effort, but the Rockets prevailed with a 109-105 win over the Spurs.
With John Wall and Eric Gordon both out, Wood needed to carry the load but still needed help from his teammates. Tate brought a complete effort while being versatile, dynamic, and ran the point guard position with extreme efficiency. Brown had complete confidence by lighting the Spurs up for 23 points on 53 percent shooting from the field. It was incredible to watch undrafted Mason Jones and second-round draft pick Kenyon Martin take leaps in front of our eyes.
For those that don't know, the Rockets were shorthanded because they are still waiting on the arrival of Victor Oladipo.
Watching Wood become better at drop coverage was pivotal in the Rockets' success on defense. Wood also became a great help-side defender by covering ground for his teammates. His shot blocking was extremely lethal against the Spurs. Wood finished with three blocks on Thursday night. His offensive game frightened the Spurs defenders as Wood was able to attack from the perimeter and paint area. Wood shot 71 percent at the 3-point line and 55 percent from the field. Like Wood said during his press conference on Wednesday, he didn't come to Houston to lose.
Christian Wood doing it all tonight! https://t.co/ht434JRvZg— Houston Rockets (@Houston Rockets) 1610679149.0
Stephan Silas had to coach a shorthanded roster Thursday night, so Tate was used at the point guard position. Tate collected 10 points and 13 assists by being aggressive and smart. He operated the pick-n-roll with Wood precisely and found him continuously on lobs. Tate also finished nicely around the rim, including being strong over defenders. Hopefully, Tate's development gets better over time.
The signing of Sterling Brown was a head scratcher in the beginning of the season but has been successful so far. Right now, Brown is averaging a career high of 8.5 points per game with the Rockets. Brown was not scared to take the big shots versus the Spurs Thursday night. He even made acrobatic tough layups in crunch time. Brown also made an incredible shot toward the end of the 4th quarter for the Rockets. Hopefully, the play of Brown continues to get better throughout the season.
Huge 3 from Brown! Rockets trail 96-99 with 3:52 remaining. https://t.co/K6xtImoy4l— Houston Rockets (@Houston Rockets) 1610678892.0
This was a great win for the shorthanded Rockets. Not bad for a team with no chemistry or talent.