Scouting the Rockets: Rockets can score, defense needs focus

Briefing Session

The San Antonio Spurs (13-9) return home after a week on the road in which the team went 1-2. The Spurs last home game resulted in a 22-point demolition of the Atlanta Hawks, and the Spurs’ 10-1 home record shows the significance of playing in the AT&T Center.

Tonight marks the final game between the Spurs and division rival Houston Rockets. The Rockets hold the season series lead at 2-1, but the Spurs can tie the Rockets with a win tonight.

Case No. 23: Houston Rockets

Record: 12-9, Road: 3-6, Last 10 games: 8-2

Commendable areas for the Rockets

  • Shooting and Scoring the basketball: The Rockets are ranked 4thin the league in scoring with 98.7 points per game. The Rockets shoot a league high 85.3 shots per game. Of those 85 shots, the Rockets usually connect on 38.4 of them (45% field goal shooting). The Rockets are also ranked 6th in the league in three point attempts, as the Rockets shoot 20.7 three pointers per game.
  • Rebounding: The Rockets crash the boards as they’re ranked 3rd in rebounding by grabbing 44.3 rebounds per game. The Spurs must also watch the Rockets’ activity in the paint, as the Rockets are ranked 4th in the NBA in offensive rebounding with 12.5 boards game.
  • Block party: Behind Dalembert’s 2.24 blocks per game, the Rockets as a whole block 5.1 blocks per game which is ranked 10th in the league.

Deficient areas for the Rockets

  • Defense: The Rockets’ defense allows their opponents to score 97 points per game (23rd in NBA), and shoot 45% from the field.
  • Shooting jumpers from behind the arc: The Rockets are ranked 12th in three point makes with 6.8 per game. The team also has trouble getting to the foul line as they’re ranked 29th in the NBA with 19 free throw attempts per game.

Top 5-Rockets Players

Kevin Martin (SG)-20.5 points, 43% FG, 38% 3PT FG, 16.3 FGA  (6.5 3PT FGA)

Luis Scola (PF)- 15.1 points, 5.7 rebounds, 13.7 FGA

Kyle Lowry (PG)-14.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals, 12.1 FGA

Courtney Lee (SG)- 9.3 points, 1.3 steals, 8.4 FGA

Samuel Dalembert-8.8 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.24 blocks

Game Expectation

Look for three key areas where the Spurs will need some major production to defeat the Rockets tonight:

A) Kevin Martin – rookie Kawhi Leonard has begun to learn Martin’s game of running around screens and pulling up for quick perimeter shots. Martin is the Rockets’ main scoring attack, if Leonard can make him earn every point like he recently showed in defending Rudy Gay (0-7 FG) on Monday, the Spurs’ backcourt could have a major advantage.

B) Rebounding – The Rockets have height over the Spurs in the low block, but the Spurs will really need to focus on boxing out in the paint when the Rockets shoot. The Rockets grab offensive rebounds at an extremely high rate from their big men to their guards, if the Spurs allow the Rockets to own this area, it good be a long night of second chance opportunities for the Rockets.

C) Bench depth – The Spurs’ bench has been coming through night in, and night out ever since the injury to guard Manu Ginobili. The Rockets don’t have a lot of weapons coming off the bench, so if the Spurs’ bench can once again bring forth major contributions, a win should be in store.

Paul Garcia

About Paul Garcia

Paul is a San Antonio Spurs credentialed media member for Project Spurs. He covered the 2013 NBA All-Star Game in Houston, TX and the 2013 NBA Finals.

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