This was a terrific start to the road trip. It only gets tougher from here and this was not a flawless game, but there were a lot of good things. Bulleted good things, in fact, in no particular order:
- Rajon Rondo held Aaron Brooks to 10 points on 4-for-12 shooting. Brooks can really play, and he's one of the few guys in the league that might be quicker than Rondo. But Rondo, with help, kept Brooks under control, and that's a key to beating Houston.
- Five offensive rebounds for Glen Davis. Frankly, we basically suck on the offensive glass, especially with Shelden Williams reserved to a cleanup role, so this is a welcome development. Big Baby still needs to work on converting these second-chance opportunities -- he had his shot blocked four times -- but he finally seems willing to mix it up and do Leon Powe-type things, so it's a step in the right direction.
- Continued strong play from the Big Three, which combined for 60 points on 23-for-42 from the field.
- Solid performance from the bench. Davis had seven points and seven boards, Rasheed Wallace had seven points and nine rebounds, and Nate Robinson contributed another eight points. Nothing spectacular, but if we can get 70 points from our starters on a night we play our signature good defense, this is all we need from that group.
- My favorite: Real offense in crunch time! Up five with under a minute to play, needing a bucket to seal the game, we didn't isolate Paul Pierce and let him go one-on-one after letting the shot clock run down. Instead, we ran an actual play, got the ball to KG on the wing, and curled Pierce off a screen on the opposite block. Houston botched the switch, Garnett hit Pierce with a perfect pass, and the captain laid it in to lock up the W.
All in all a good win where we just outplayed the other team, and don't have to attribute it to unusually hot shooting or bad play from the bad guys. Sure, we made ten of 23 three-pointers, but we also missed six of 16 free throws and scored 12 fewer points than the Rockets from the line (despite the fact that Houston wasn't noticeably more aggressive than we were throughout the game). Let's hope we can keep it up Saturday night against Dallas.