Superstarden – ESPN explains what James Harden’s performance against the Heat says about his place in the league. Also, Shane Battier discusses the difference between Harden’s struggles in the Finals versus his success now:
“We were able to hone in on what he was able to do and take some of it away,” Heat forward Shane Battier said.“No one had done it, and I think it frustrated him a little. Probably the only thing that is different now is his freedom. You give any talented player freedom in this league and that player is much more dangerous. He’s the franchise guy, and he plays with a tremendous amount of confidence. He’ll take any shot at any time and, as a defender, those are the most dangerous guys.”
Playoffs?! – ESPN Insider breaks down the West playoff race. The simulations have the Rockets taking the seventh seed:
So if the Lakers make the playoffs, whom will they knock out? The Hollinger Odds say Utah on the basis of Houston’s superior point differential — including a 45-point Rockets win in Salt Lake City last week that skewed the recent numbers for both teams. Even taking that out, Houston has still outscored opponents by 2.0 points per game while the Jazz would have a plus-0.4 differential. Consider the Rockets the favorites to make up the 1.5 games that separate them in the standings and finish seventh.
After the break: Zen Beard.Wet Blanket – Excellent analysis from The Dream Shake about why Morey might not do much at the trade deadline:
The fact is that this complete lack of substantial expiring contracts will be a hindrance to the Rockets as they try to do business this trade season, even with their cap space. If they are motivated enough to do a deal, they can probably find a third team willing to jump in, but that’s a lot easier said than done.
Dwightwatch – Step 1: Read this. Step 2: Laugh a deep, belly laugh. Step 3: Fantasize about how bad Dwight must want out of L.A., and how that might bring him to Houston. Step 5: Repeat.Skillz – Jeremy Lin and Tony Parker are headlining the Skills Challenge this All-Star weekend. Seeing as guys like Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul are not participating, I’m taking this contest with a grain of salt.Your Moment of Zen – A Houston blog explores the idea that wisdom sounds wiser through the filter of James Harden’s facial hair. Example:
Before slam dunk, chop wood, carry water.After slam dunk, chop wood, carry water.
Below the Belt – Chandler Parsons discovered this video yesterday and shared on Twitter.
Then Blake and Chandler make nice:
Happy Friday, everyone.Got any sweet links or suggestions? Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org or message John Eby on Twitter @Ebynews.