In a development that is surprising no one except for Kenny Atkinson, Kenneth Faried is thriving in Houston. All they needed was a big body to run around and dunk things, and that’s exactly what they got. A match made in heaven. Faried is who he is at this point, since I don’t truly believe that he’s going to be taking and making a bunch of threes even under D’Antoni, but the Rockets don’t need him to be something else. They need him to be something resembling Clint Capela. Which he was tonight, putting up 21 points (with a bunch of dunks) and 14 rebounds (many of them offensive) with 2 blocks. That’s a Capela-esque statline if I’ve ever seen one.
That said, it’s a shame that Harden chose this game to not utterly blow everyone’s minds with yet another 50-point effort. The ESPN viewers don’t watch games to see someone like Faried score 21 or someone like P.J. Tucker score 18. They might be superficially entertained by Faried’s high-flying acrobatics, but what really leaves an impression on their simple minds is yooge point totals. Truthfully, the pendulum had swung too far in Harden’s direction when it came to ball-time, and it evened out a little bit in this one. Great for me, but not great for everyone else, to have his motley crew of role-players play their role by making a few more shots than usual.
Also, I haven’t seen this entire game, so I’m missing some stuff, but from what I have seen Kawhi Leonard looked like the biggest meatball ever. His stats say he did good, but I’m going to just look at the plays where he got shut down by Faried and Harden (????) and say he needs to fake another injury and sit down for a few more months.