With 31 PTS, 9 REB and 6 AST, James Harden was the best player on the floor, as the Rockets pulled away in the second half for an impressive win. Chandler Parsons (flu) not only played, he scored 20 points, and Carlos Delfino (19 PTS, 6 REB, 3 AST, 2 STL) hit 5-of-7 from beyond the arc. Metta World Peace (24 PTS, 6 REB, 4 STL) looked good at PF for the Lakers, but Kobe Bryant was relatively quiet (20 PTS, 7 AST, 5 REB, 3 STL) and Steve Nash (16 PTS, 10 AST, 5 REB) was bothered by back pain. Reaching the 10,000 assist milestone is an impressive achievement for the two-time MVP, but I’m sure he’d trade a thousand helpers for one W about now. At least temporarily, 7-foot rookie Robert Sacre (10 PTS, 3 REB, 4 BLK) will start at C; otherwise L.A. is going very small, with Kobe at the 3 and Jodie Meeks (12 PTS) sharing SG with Darius Morris (12 PTS in just 17 minutes). Houston was happy to match them, so their big men didn’t play much.
Other January 8 Games
MIA @ IND: Heat fans are getting nervous, but this defeat was no surprise. LeBron James played over 42 minutes, and while 22 PTS, 10 REB, 4 AST, 2 BLK is a great line for mere mortals, the King also turned it over seven times and is far from 100% physically, battling through an assortment of injuries. Paul George (29 PTS, 11 REB) exploded for 22 in the second half, as the Pacers pulled away to an impressive win. George Hill wasn’t feeling well, so D.J. Augustin (4 PTS, 8 AST, 3 REB, 2 STL) finished up at PG. Chris Bosh was outrebounded 14-5 by Roy Hibbert and Ray Allen was awful (0-for-5, -20 in 16 minutes) so Miami wasted a 30-point night from Dwyane Wade.
BRK @ PHI: Right about the time he was making excuses about being tired, Deron Williams (22 PTS, 5 AST) became red-hot. He earned at least a draw with Jrue Holiday (19 PTS, 8 AST) and the rest of the Nets outplayed the rest of the Sixers by a wide margin. Reggie Evans grabbed 23 rebounds and Andray Blatche (20 PTS, 7 REB in 22 minutes) showed no ill effects from a sleepless night spent answering questions from police. Philly threw in the towel early in the third quarter (which they lost 35-14) and the reserves for both teams finished up.
PHO @ MIL: The main thing new coach Jim Boylan did in his first game was restore Ersan Ilyasova (12 PTS, 6 REB, 4 AST) to the starting five. Brandon Jennings (29 PTS, 9 REB) and Larry Sanders (10 PTS, 8 REB, 3 STL, 6 BLK) did the rest. John Henson had a double-double (12 PTS, 11 REB) in just 19 minutes as seven Bucks scored in double figures. For the Suns, Jared Dudley (18 PTS, 8 AST, 5 REB) seemed to appreciate shifting from SG to SF and Marcin Gortat (16 PTS, 14 REB) continues to play well, but they faded in the second half.