Dwight Howard and Rockets overcome sloppy play in opener

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The Houston Rockets kicked off their new era with a win, topping the Charlotte Bobcats 96-83 in front of a sellout crowd at Toyota Center on Wednesday night. But clearly after the game they recognized this was a sloppy, disjointed offensive effort. An effort that had them wondering exactly where it came from. “Watching us play offense was like a trip to the dentist,” head coach Kevin McHale said after the win.

“We played very unlike ourselves. We weren’t getting out and running. Everybody was trying to come back and get the ball. We’ve got a lot of stuff we need to clean up.”

By the end of the night, the Rockets had made nearly half of their shots, connecting on 47.4 percent. That was helped greatly late as they knocked down 12 of 20 shots in the fourth quarter and 18 of their 29 points in the period came in the paint. The players acknowledged they noticed pretty early that they were completely out of sync offensively. “We can’t get much worse offensively,” Chandler Parsons said.

“(Everything) seemed hard (early). Nothing was coming easy. We weren’t making the extra pass,” Parsons said. “We weren’t cutting, we were forcing it every time we came down the floor."

The team made just seven of its first 24 shots. They were able to overcome those offensive shortcomings mainly because they were simply dominant on the boards. Dwight Howard grabbed a career-high tying 26 rebounds, 17 of which came in the first half. His twin, Omer Asik, added 14 rebounds and the duo combined for 11 offensive rebounds.

The 40 rebounds between them were three more than the Bobcats had as a team. Still there didn’t seem to be much concern over their poor offensive start remaining a lingering problem.

“If we had played this way for a month, I’d be really concerned,” McHale said. “This is the first time we’ve played like that since the first practice.”

- Adam Wexler, CSN Houston

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