Rockets GM Daryl Morey did it again. In each of his eight years with the Rockets, he has made a trade prior to the league's trade deadline. Leading up to Thursday, it appeared less and less likely a deal would get done, primarily because the names most frequently mentioned in trade rumors -- Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin -- had sizable contracts for next season making a move difficult. So, instead, Morey sent Aaron Brooks, the Chris Rock lookalike point guard and fan favorite, to Denver in exchange for swing man Jordan Hamilton.
The trade, which Brooks had to approve because his contract affords him that option, gives the Rockets an added perimeter player with athleticism and some shooting ability who also happens to be just 23 years old -- he is currently in his third season out of the University of Texas.
Hamilton was not in uniform yet Thursday night when the Rockets took on Golden State in the second of a pair of back-to-back games after beating the Lakers handily on Wednesday at Staples Center. The rest of his new teammates saw their winning streak end at eight games as they dropped an overtime thriller to the Warriors 102-99.
James Harden poured in 39 points, 34 of which came in the second half. Unfortunately, he only managed 4 in the OT in a surprisingly low scoring game between two of the highest scoring teams in the NBA.
Dwight Howard coming off his big game in LA shot only 4-13 from the floor and 3-8 from the free throw line, but he did grab 21 rebounds. Chandler Parsons added 21 points and helped keep the Rockets in the game early as Golden State jumped out to as much as a 10-point lead in the second corner.
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Harden took over in the second half scoring 15 in the third quarter and 19 in the fourth, but his three pointer at the buzzer fell short and the teams headed for overtime. The Rockets never held the lead in the extra frame, with their best shot coming on a Parsons baseline drive dunk attempt that was blocked by the ancient Jermaine O'Neal right at the rim.
With three games remaining on this West Coast road trip (Phoenix, Sacramento and the Clippers) followed by the toughest month of the year schedule wise, the Rockets will have their hands full trying to remain the top of the Western Conference playoff chase.
And they will do it without Brooks, who has been a bright spot off the bench this season, but has seen his minutes decrease drastically with both Patrick Beverley and Jeremy Lin healthy. The trade for Hamilton is a classic Morey maneuver. Not only is he a rangy swing man who shoots a decent percentage from three and brings a load of athleticism, but he's young and has a contract that expires after this season. Morey loves to take low-impact risks on guys who were highly touted at one time and this is yet another example of that.
Whether Hamilton will be able to work his way into the rotation is hard to tell. But, with the toughest stretch of the schedule staring them in the face, the Rockets will take all they help they can get.