Quick: Which Houston player has the team’s highest net on/off court rating? Here’s a hint, it’s the same player who has the team scoring 131 points more when he plays than when he doesn’t, the biggest such gap on the team. No, it isn’t James Harden, the NBA’s fourth-leading scorer per game — it’s forward Carlos Delfino. The Rockets run much better offensively when he’s in the game as an almost purely jump-shooting forward, even though he’s played just 38 percent of the available minutes this season: The three most-used lineup combinations that include Delfino are 19-6 this season. All of which is to say Houston will be glad to have him back after Manu Ginobili‘s homecooked meal likely gave him food poisoning.
The Team Argentina teammates dined together Thursday, one day before Ginobili’s Spurs played the Rockets. Delfino, talking to the Houston Chronicle, walked back his meals for the day and found he ate just two different items after dinnertime than the Ginobili family, who all were healthy. They were M&Ms and a piece of sausage and, spoiler alert, he doesn’t think it was the candy.
“It’s funny,” Delfino said of dinner with his friend and Argentina National Team teammate. “I went to his house and everyone eats the same, but this little piece of sausage I get. Then when I get to the hotel … by the time I take a shower I ate a little piece of M&Ms. That was the only things I ate different from Ginobili’s family. I’ve been down for 72 hours and they are everybody healthy. He was blaming himself.
“I was kind of frustrated. Those games were important for us. We were talking about it being like a test for the team. Missing the games for me was tough, watching on TV. Maybe next time we play against them I will talk to my wife about putting some sausage for him, or something like that.”
The Rockets lost that game and a five-game winning streak, 122-116, with Ginobili scoring 23 points in 23 minutes.
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