Rockets aim to stay hot in meeting with Nets

Updated: February 22, 2013

By all accounts, the Houston Rockets were big winners at
the NBA trade deadline and they’ll take their new-look team to the Barclays
Center Friday night to meet the Brooklyn Nets.

The Rockets acquired Thomas Robinson, the fifth pick in this past summer’s
draft, Francisco Garcia and Tyler Honeycutt from the Sacramento Kings for
Patrick Patterson, Toney Douglas and Cole Aldrich. They then shipped Marcus
Morris to the Phoenix Suns for a second-round pick.

“Thomas is a guy people are going to love,” said Houston General Manager Daryl
Morey. “(He’s) high-energy, runs the floor, led the country in rebounding when
he was at Kansas. He’s a guy we really think has the potential to be a
starting big man in this league and has a lot of upside. Obviously he’s still
young, and he’s somebody whos going to compete for minutes and try to help us
win down the stretch.”

All three new players are expected to be in uniform for the Rockets against
the Nets. Carlos Delfino has been pegged to start in place of Patterson as the
Rockets will go small.

Houston has alternated wins and losses over its last seven games, but shot out
of the All-Star break with a 122-119 home victory Wednesday over the Oklahoma
City Thunder.

James Harden showed his All-Star status with 46 points, eight rebounds and six
assists. He shot 14-for-19 from the field, 7-for-8 from long range and 11-
for-12 from the foul line.

“He’s a phenomenal offensive force,” head coach Kevin McHale said of Harden.
“He can drive it. He’s got the ability to shoot it. He’s got the ability to
beat you off the bounce. I think he’s almost un-guardable off the catch. He’s
just a hell of a basketball player.”

The Nets stood pat at the deadline, despite reported efforts to pry Josh Smith
from the Atlanta Hawks.

They may not need him right now. The Nets have won four in a row dating back
to before the All-Star break and recently swept a home-and-home series with
the Milwaukee Bucks.

They escaped with the road win on Wednesday. Down three, Monta Ellis of the
Bucks got fouled on a 3-point attempt with 4.1 seconds left. He missed the
first two, then missed the last on purpose, but the Nets hung on for a 97-94

“We were just hanging on by our fingernails in the first half, and the bench
came in and gave us a great lift in the first half and got us back in the
game,” Brooklyn coach P.J. Carlesimo said.

The Rockets have won 12 in a row in this series dating back to the 2005-06
season. The last time the Nets beat Houston at home was on Mar. 31, 2003.