Boston Celtics @ Houston Rockets on 11/19/13

The Rockets are coming off one of their most balanced and well played games of the season.  They will have had a few days off at home to practice, rest and get everyone healthy.  Now it’s time to build momentum off of their victory.

With seven Rockets in double digits against the Nuggets, it becomes more clear what it will take for this team to be successful.  The second team needs to be firing on all cylinders, and with Lin Captaining, they are solid.  Playing like the sixth man of the year, Jeremy looks like a young Steve Nash.  He’s relentlessly attacking the rim, hitting jumpers and dribbling into the paint at will. Terrence Jones and D-Mo both had their best games of the season and have earned their way into the rotation.

Parsons has also improved.  His time with the USA team mini-camp this summer helped him realize he can ball with anyone in the league. Even though he’s only shooting .256 from behind the arc, he’s getting 17 a game, and driving the ball to the rack at will.

The injury bug has been steady for the Rockets this year.  The most significant injury has been Harden and his feet.  He still played the most minutes of any Rocket (36) on Saturday and his presence is vital to the Rockets success.  He is definitely the Alpha Dog with his health and chutzpah (I love those dagger three’s from four feet behind the arc), and he is going to drive this team to playoff wins.  Parsons has a bad back, Greg Smith is out for at least another week, Beverley is just coming back to form from his abdominal muscle strain, Garcia has been sick, and now Asik is “sick” or getting paid to pout.

I’ve been one of the biggest supporters of Asik this year, but his behavior is clearly unprofessional and is probably detracting from his trade value.  It’s nice to get strong wins without him playing to see what kind of bench we have and what we need in trade.  It sounds like he will play against the Celtics, after a couple of days “conferring with his agent.”

There is a definite lack of defensive presence when Howard exits the game.  As much as everyone is calling for a stretch four in return for Asik, I’m not sure if that’s in the Rockets best interest.  Both D-Mo and Jones can hit the three ball, and the best option for the Rockets is Kenneth Faried.  His name was being mentioned in a possible trade for Shumpert, and his inside presence, defense, youth, strength and rebounding would fit better than Ryan Anderson.  Morey will wait until it’s closer to the trade deadline, February 20th, to get the best possible action for Asik.  He’s worth more than a first rounder and we should get an impact player in return.

Hack-a-Howard backfired for the Nuggets.  They started the hacking early, with about 5 minutes left in the game, and Howard got into a good rhythm on the line and looked as comfortable as he has all season. But, the Rockets were up by 10 for most of that time and the pressure was lower.  As McHale says, the more other teams try it, the more comfortable Howard will become.  We’re bound to see it in almost every close game of the season.

The Celtics are in complete rebuilding mode. Rondo is still out, the superstars are gone and Doc Rivers is in LA. At four and seven, it’s not entirely impossible to find them sneaking into the bottom seeds in the East, but it’s unlikely. Currently, four and seven is only a half game out of the playoffs in the East!  Jeff Green leads the Celtics in scoring and Courtney Lee gets significant minutes as the backup SG.  The Celtics have started Kelly Olynyk at center four times this year.  The Gonzaga rookie, and 13th pick, is averaging 8 points and 5 rebounds in 22 minutes a game.

After his major success at Butler, rookie coach Brad Stevens development is as crucial to the Celtics future as their player development. He’s adapting to the NBA and how to work with the complex personalities of the pro game.  He’s apt to sit a player for long stretches for mental errors.  It will be interesting to see how he handles himself with a sub .500 team after years at Butler where he averaged a winning percentage of .772

The Rockets should get a win and start their climb up the standings in the West.

 

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Total comments: 28
  • rockets best fan says 4 months ago

    I still think DMO's ceiling is higher potential, but tjones is definetly ahead on the curve. But guys DMO's height, potential size/weight/strength and with a soft touch just do not happen or when they do it takes awhile to round out there game.

    Aka, yao, hibbert, etc etc

    If DMO can put on about 30 more pounds ish? (he's listed at 225, if he can be btwn 250 and 260) without losing speed or fluidity over the next two years, i think he's possibly a starting center all-star long term. Key being his weight/strength without losing his quickness.

    Tjones is a freak though man, he reminds me of lamar odom actually, less handles but better ups tho. Minus the kardashian.

    I would agree D-Mo's ceiling is higher, but he still has far to go. I also agree the key is for him isto get stronger without losing the quickness. don't know if I see star potential though. still to early in his development curve to tell IMO

  • Losthief says 4 months ago

    while I prefer T-Jones to D-Mo.............I agree with our statement. if D-Mo can supply some meaningful backup center minutes it completely changes what the Rockets should pursue via trade for Asik

    I still think DMO's ceiling is higher potential, but tjones is definetly ahead on the curve. But guys DMO's height, potential size/weight/strength and with a soft touch just do not happen or when they do it takes awhile to round out there game.

    Aka, yao, hibbert, etc etc

    If DMO can put on about 30 more pounds ish? (he's listed at 225, if he can be btwn 250 and 260) without losing speed or fluidity over the next two years, i think he's possibly a starting center all-star long term. Key being his weight/strength without losing his quickness.

    Tjones is a freak though man, he reminds me of lamar odom actually, less handles but better ups tho. Minus the kardashian.

  • rockets best fan says 4 months ago

    Being a big D-Mo fan (but not one to bitch and moan when Jones is starting and playing inspired basketball) I would like to say that his defense is looking totally acceptable right now, even at the center position. We all believe Asik will be traded sometime in the indeterminate future and the best possible case is that D-Mo can step right in as the backup center. If that happens Morey can trade Asik and not leave a gaping hole that has to be filled. Best possible outcome.

    while I prefer T-Jones to D-Mo.............I agree with our statement. if D-Mo can supply some meaningful backup center minutes it completely changes what the Rockets should pursue via trade for Asik

  • NorEastern says 4 months ago

    Being a big D-Mo fan (but not one to bitch and moan when Jones is starting and playing inspired basketball) I would like to say that his defense is looking totally acceptable right now, even at the center position. We all believe Asik will be traded sometime in the indeterminate future and the best possible case is that D-Mo can step right in as the backup center. If that happens Morey can trade Asik and not leave a gaping hole that has to be filled. Best possible outcome.

  • Alituro says 4 months ago

    I heard TJ, after the game state that he wants to keep up with Dwight on his blocks per game. That inner-team competition speaks volumes about the camaraderie that this team is developing. When you couple that with Dwight's almost man-crush-like comments about Jones you realize that the team trusts Jones, which goes a long way towards his future potential and success. The kid really has the complete package, doing it all and completely doing away with our need for just a "stretch 4", because he can be that too. My vote for his nickname and more RED94 t-shirt themes originates here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIbp5C-5WXM

  • rocketrick says 4 months ago

    I agree provided this guy can figure it out
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    Good one RBF!

    10 games into the season it seems pretty evident to me that Coach McHale is more than willing to experiment, so to speak, with his rotations. Much more to come as the Rockets are deeper than they have probably ever been since way back when McHale was created by that mad scientist, whoever he was, I forget....
  • rocketrick says 4 months ago

    I only caught the end of the third and fourth quarters, but I agree that Jones looked mighty good. His play relieves lots of pressure for the front office. Not that Morey would panic and lose Asik for pennies on the dollar, but any trade is better when made from a position of strength. The first few games made Houston look like a team in a weaker position when it came to the trading block. Jones is asserting that even if Morey chose not to trade Asik, Houston will still be in a good position. Upgrading the four is a luxury right now, not a necessity, which returns a little bit of leverage into the capable hands of the Houston front office.


    I've stated in other posts that I believe the best value for Asik may be something other than a PF that can stretch the floor and possibly play some backup C minutes (just exactly who is out there that can do both anyway??)

    I believe that another high value wing player is what the Rockets need this season adding more depth and at the same time Asik should bring back at minimum 2 quality players. Be that a backup C or a better backup PG for AB.

    Obviously if Morey can pull off a tremendous trade bringing a valuable PF in return for Asik, I'm certainly in.

    It's time to start expanding what value Asik may return back to the Rockets in my opinion.
  • Losthief says 4 months ago

    T-Jones is beginning to blossom right before our eyes.

    been WAY more consistent than i'd even hoped for...*knock knock* that that continues. excellent showing so far, also like how it seems the ball handlers look for him more than they did for asik or omni, esp in transition so far.

  • rockets best fan says 4 months ago

    I mentioned it in the Asik thread - and totally agree with Drew about T Jones. his continued growth opens up things for Morey A TON

    T-Jones is beginning to blossom right before our eyes.

  • tombrokeoff says 4 months ago

    I mentioned it in the Asik thread - and totally agree with Drew about T Jones. his continued growth opens up things for Morey A TON

  • RollingWave says 4 months ago

    we're still giving up way too many offensive rebounds, but obviously a much needed crushing.

  • Red94 says 4 months ago New post: Houston Rockets 109, Boston Celtics 85: Bad team, good win
    By: Forrest Walker

    The Boston Celtics aren't a good NBA team this season. They aren't supposed to be competitive, given the prizes that await the top teams in the NBA lottery next summer and the long-term benefits of landing a potential phenom player. The Houston Rockets are hoping to occupy the lofty ranks of championship contenders, a caliber of play which requires comfortable wins over lottery-bound teams like Boston. It would be easy to discount this win if it weren't for the fact that for the first time this season, the Rockets looked in sync.

    Given, the Celtics have a team that can be charitably described at inexperienced. Given, the Celtics missed open shots repeatedly and had inexplicable turnovers. All caveats and asterisks aside, however, the Rockets gave not only their best effort of the season but experienced their best results. The game ended with a twenty-four point victory for the Rockets, and it wasn't as close as that makes it seem. Elite teams have to be able to blow out the lottery dwellers of the league, and that's exactly what happened. Terrence Jones detonated, the rest of the team picked and rolled the Celtics to death, and the starters got to rest up for a division rival game the following evening.

    The bad news is that Ömer Aşık didn't play until the game was well into garbage time, implying that he's still residing in head coach Kevin McHale's doghouse. The noises from his camp lately have been conciliatory, but there's still clearly a rift between Aşık and the Rockets organization. As long as he plays out the weeks until a trade in good faith, both sides will be on track to an amicable resolution. If he continues to sulk, things will get worse for everyone involved. The fact that he took the court at all implies movement in the correct direction, and this will continue to be a storyline that's impossible to ignore.

    The good news? There's a lot of good news. Terrence Jones was the star of the show, going off for 24 points to lead all scorers. He sank his first 8 shots and ended up an incredible 10-12 from the field, including 3-4 from three point land. He grabbed 9 boards and picked up a pair of blocks to go with only 1 turnover in the performance of his young career. His defense is improving, his decision making is progressing, and his shot is getting better. The Rockets had a major hole at the power forward slot, and Jones is doing everything in his power to justify himself as the solution. He's averaged a double-double since he entered the starting lineup, and by giving Houston a workable solution at the four, he's probably doing more to increase Ömer Aşık's trade value than Ömer Aşık himself.

    Several other Rockets played basketball tonight, too. Donatas Motiejunas had the best block of the game, chasing down Kelly Olynyk to erase his fastbreak and give the Rockets their tenth block on the night. Aside from that, he looked serviceable if not exactly good, missing all 4 three point attempts but grabbing five boards and playing acceptable defense. Patrick Beverley seemed to find his three point stroke again, something he's badly needed in the first then games of the season.

    The whole starting unit, in fact, was lethal from deep, shooting 7-10 in total. Harden looked to pass more than shoot, despite his perfect 3-3 from three, and ended up with 5 assists and 15 points on 8 shots. Howard was good, scoring in the paint on his way to another double double: 11 rebounds and an impressive 10 points on 4 shots. In fact, the whole team was good. Howard, Jones, Parsons, Lin Beverley and Harden all scored in the double digits, leading the Rockets to the most even-handed scoring effort of the year.

    The Rockets got off to a terrifying 18-1 start and never looked back. There were no brief comebacks, no scoring droughts, no extended periods of defensive collapse. The Houston Rockets ran the pick and roll, high-speed, transition heavy offense they excelled at last season and in the preseason, and it worked just as well as could be hoped. A win against a struggling team isn't as impressive as a win against a contender, but any win this clean and well-run can only be a good sign for the Rockets.

  • Drew in Abilene says 4 months ago

    I only caught the end of the third and fourth quarters, but I agree that Jones looked mighty good. His play relieves lots of pressure for the front office. Not that Morey would panic and lose Asik for pennies on the dollar, but any trade is better when made from a position of strength. The first few games made Houston look like a team in a weaker position when it came to the trading block. Jones is asserting that even if Morey chose not to trade Asik, Houston will still be in a good position. Upgrading the four is a luxury right now, not a necessity, which returns a little bit of leverage into the capable hands of the Houston front office.

  • 2016Champions says 4 months ago

    Our rotation defense has been so much better than usual this game.

  • RudyT1995 says 4 months ago

    Jones makes such a big difference just with his ability to catch and finish. Nice to not see interior passes being juggled or fumbled like they were with Dwight and Asik.

  • Cooper says 4 months ago It is just the celtics but they are playing very well, Especially jones.
  • 2016Champions says 4 months ago

    I don't think the Rockets really need a stretch 4. Terrence Jones has been doing well and will only get better. Their best option is to somehow get Asik to buy into the systemof havingthe chance to be an important part of a championship team. With Howard and Asik protecting the rim for 48 minutes the Rockets defense will be much better.

    The only options that I believe will be better than convincing Asik to play within the systemis for the Rockets to somehow trade him for Bosh or Aldridge (which will probably never happen -_-).

    Terrance Jones really impressed me this game, he has a very calm aggression in the way he plays, you can see his confidence growing and it is definitely starting to look like our question mark at the 4 has been answered.

  • 2016Champions says 4 months ago

    I love how we're just casually dominating this first half.

  • Alituro says 4 months ago

    I like the Lin/Young Nash comparison, in fact, I just mentioned that to my friend the other day watching the NYK game. He definitely reminds me of the Dallas version of Steve Nash, still just a little rough around the edges but with enormous potential.

    I like our status at the PF with Jones and D-mo and think Faried would weigh our post too defensively heavy paired with Howard, and not enough offensive creativity, which you get from Jones and Donuts.

    If indeed Asik is too emotionally distraught to be effective, I think we should do something sooner than later, getting a 1st rounder, top 5 or 10 protected, and maybe a 3rd tier center. The pick could be traded closer to the trade deadline (?) and it won't have Asik's cap hit along with it. A Morey-scouted top 10 pick absolutely has the potential value of Asik's current contract. Sign Henriquez to a 10-day until Smith gets back too.

  • marbony81110 says 4 months ago

    I don't think the Rockets really need a stretch 4. Terrence Jones has been doing well and will only get better. Their best option is to somehow get Asik to buy into the systemof havingthe chance to be an important part of a championship team. With Howard and Asik protecting the rim for 48 minutes the Rockets defense will be much better.

    The only options that I believe will be better than convincing Asik to play within the systemis for the Rockets to somehow trade him for Bosh or Aldridge (which will probably never happen -_-).

  • rockets best fan says 4 months ago

    The Rockets haven't even played well, are still learning schemes and dealing with chemistry/ personal problems and they are 7 and 4. Pretty soon it's all going to start coming together and this team is going to go on a tear.

    I agree provided this guy can figure it out
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  • Losthief says 4 months ago

    The Rockets haven't even played well, are still learning schemes and dealing with chemistry/ personal problems and they are 7 and 4. Pretty soon it's all going to start coming together and this team is going to go on a tear.

    *tare :P

    but ur absolutely correct, though i think it'll be more like pre-allstar break post-xmas time. But I fully expect us to finish the 2nd half of the season as a 70% win team, the question is what will our record be at the all-star break so what seed we get.

  • feelingsupersonic says 4 months ago

    The Rockets haven't even played well, are still learning schemes and dealing with chemistry/ personal problems and they are 7 and 4. Pretty soon it's all going to start coming together and this team is going to go on a tear.

  • rockets best fan says 4 months ago

    i really don't think faried's defense is all that good.

    I agree. Faried was flat outplayed by T-Jones in the Denver game. I consider that a downgrade. I like Faried's energy, but he is simply to short to guard the big PF's we will see in the playoffs. I'd rather take my chances with T-Jones and the great thing is we don't have to pay anything to get him. itis common knowledge Asik will be moved at some point, but the Rockets are not in a position of desperation. no need for a fire sale. I am more concerned with backup center minutes. when we do move Asik, that is a area that must be addressed. while D-Mo had a good game last game. I'm not ready to say he can handle the job. while the return of G-Smith will offer some stability to the position it still needs upgrading

  • Dayak says 4 months ago

    We already have "poor man" Faried in Terence Jones.

  • Losthief says 4 months ago

    i really don't think faried's defense is all that good.

  • timetodienow1234567 says 4 months ago I like Faried but he would be a much better fit with Lopez/Gasol/Bosh than with Howard.
  • Buckko says 4 months ago I disagree about faried, we need floor spacing.