The Houston Rockets are in 9th place.

I still can’t believe I just typed that sentence out. As terrible as this season has been, I doubt there was a single Rockets fans who thought this team would struggle to make the NBA playoffs. And there is certainly a valid train of thought that this team should just tank for the rest of the season, if not tear this team down completely.

Morey may be thinking about that, given yesterday’s news that Houston may be looking to trade Dwight Howard. But let us assume for now that the teams stays as it is. Under those circumstances, what do Houston’s chances of making the playoffs look like? Even after yesterday’s loss to the Blazers, ESPN’s BPI Playoff odds gives the Rockets a 2 in 3 chance of making the playoffs. Could that possibly be too optimistic?

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in essays

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At the two-thirds points in this season, it is clear that the Rockets just are who they are. They have been complacent for much of the season, and the chemistry which defined this team last year is completely and totally gone, as Jason Terry so kindly observed after this game.

Everyone knows the problems which have afflicted the Rockets at this point. The Portland Trail Blazers are nowhere as talented as the Rockets. But they are better coached, work together, and can actually pass the ball without turning it over. And when the Rockets actually made things close down the stretch, it was a bunch of turnovers which created a Portland run to seal the game.

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in uncategorized

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This has to be the most depressing NBA season I have ever watched – and the Golden State Warriors are to blame for this as much as the Houston Rockets.

I just don’t know who’s going to stop the Warriors not just for this season, but for the next 3 to 5 seasons. Their players are not old. The rising salary cap means that they can keep everyone. The unique style of their players means that not only are they impossible to replicate, but the classic situation where a lesser star on a championship team wants to leave to lead his own team becomes less likely. They appear to be immune to the Disease of More which has killed past champions.

Tonight, the Houston Rockets tied the game through the first three quarters. Then in the fourth quarter, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson did not score a single point, and yet the Warriors blew the Rockets out anyways. The Rockets could not buy a basket, Harrison Barnes dropped in 17 points making shots that a superstar would make, and that was that. The Warriors march on to perfection, and the Rockets to futility.

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in game coverage

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How do you build a team around James Harden?

Most of you all now would agree that, aside from the hope of a first-round upset to help serve in making Houston seem a somewhat palatable destination for Kevin Durant, this season, for all intents and purposes, is over.  The micro-level discussions from last year regarding strategy and opponents have given way to the macro debates of seasons past over team building.  Discussions which we thought we had left safely in the rearview mirror.

With the Warriors’ historic levels of success, and the Spurs nipping at their heels as the presumed runner-up, the ingrained assumption has become that only an imitation of their styles could hope to pose a challenge.  In essence, unless you play small and share the ball, you don’t have a chance.

The reality of such conventional wisdom is problematic for a team like Houston who features a traditional, relatively unskilled big man, and more importantly, a 90’s era ball dominant superstar whose value is diminished when operating without the ball.  Does this mean James Harden must adjust?  Does this mean a James Harden-led team cannot win?

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in musings

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Courtesy of Deadspin.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, than this video is worth a lot more than that. Because it sums up not only this horrible monstrosity of a game, but the horrible monstrosity of this season. When Red94 gets around to writing a “what the **** went wrong” article at the end of this season, this video should be at the top.

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in game coverage

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