Houston Rockets 110, Toronto Raptors 104: This game is, and has always been, about buckets

  • In the aftermath of the earlier horrifying 2 game losing streak, there have been discussions on everything from short rotations to the usage of power forwards to Lin’s role in the rotation to the Twin Towers lineup to silly Twitter spats on who supposedly said what about some teammate.  But I believe that there is one issue that hasn’t been talked about enough, namely Houston’s dreadful 3-point shooting for these past eight games.  After shooting over 36% from there last year, Houston is now barely shooting over 31% this season, which includes a 7-26 performance tonight against the Raptors.  The Raptors, led by a defensively skilled but offensively unimaginative coach in Dwayne Casey, and lacking any true 3 point gunners, managed to outshoot the Rockets from range tonight.  This trend simply cannot continue, especially if Houston intends to play centers in Howard and Asik who do not possess any range.

  • It may be one thing to start recapping what was a hard fought victory on a negative note, but I will freely admit to being much more frustrated by this game than the second Clippers defeat.  A large part of that is due to Jonas Valanciunas.  The young center, who is supposed to be the future of the Raptors franchise, was incredible tonight.  His stat lines may not be that impressive, as he finished with 10 points on 9 shots and grabbed 13 boards, but he had a real effect on Dwight Howard and on Toronto’s defense.  Valanciunas suffered from foul trouble throughout the game, and Houston repeatedly capitalized when he sat out to take advantage of Toronto’s weaker interior defense.  He then fouled out for good with 3:11 left in the game, when Houston led 84-80.  Yet without their best player, the Raptors hustled, grabbed rebounds, and took advantages of Dwight’s continued free throw struggles to force one overtime, and then another off of a ridiculous Rudy Gay buzzer beater before finally succumbing to James Harden and Jeremy Lin in the second overtime.  From my perspective, Houston likely does not win this game if Valanciunas plays during overtime.
  • I mentioned Dwight’s free throw struggles, but they were a severe problem during tonight’s game.  Finishing 4-12 from the line is bad enough, but Howard was also visibly rattled taking foul shots at the end of the game, as he finished 1-6 over the course of the 4th quarter and the 2 overtimes.  More than anything, Howard looked visibly nervous at the foul line at the very end, which is the absolute worst thing one could see from the superstar center this late in the game.
  • As a contrast to this negativity, Jeremy Lin deserves particular praise for his play tonight.  Lin was largely quiet during the first half, as Howard and Harden dominated the Raptors and built a commanding 47-33 lead at the end of the half.  However, Toronto adjusted and Houston began to move away from giving the ball to Howard, which permitted the Raptors to creep back into the game and eventually extend it by an additional ten minutes.  During the fourth quarter and the overtimes, Lin at times was seemingly the only one who was willing to put the ball on the court and make something out of nothing.  He was the only player tonight who shot well from long range as he finished 3 for 6 from there, and eventually closed the game out with 31 points.  According to Jonathan Feign, that is the most amount of points a Houston bench player has scored since Carl Landry’s incredible last season with the Rockets – and Landry was well on his way to winning the Sixth Man of the Year award until he was traded to the Kings and a starting position.
  • Does tonight’s game signal the end of the Twin Towers and/or the appearance of Terrence Jones in the regular rotation?  With Francisco Garcia out with the flu, Jones largely took Garcia’s minutes during the 2nd quarter, but Jones’s athleticism and rebounding were good enough that McHale chose to have Jones in the starting lineup at the beginning of the second half.  That arrangement lasted only three minutes until two quick fouls from Jones had McHale send in Omri Casspi, but at bare minimum, Howard and Asik did not play together for a single second during the second half.  There are currently many mistakes in this stage of Jones’s young career.  His offense generally needs work, as he has a problem finishing and does not possess a reliable jump shot.  His team defense in knowing the rotation also needs work, but his defense tonight was extremely good on an individual basis.  Jones spent most of the second half and overtimes guarding Rudy Gay, who was even more inefficient than usual with 29 points on 37 shots.   There is little doubt in my mind that Jones has managed to play his way into a rotation player for now, even when Garcia returns from the flu.

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  • BrentYen says 8 months ago

    And it indeed turned out we won, didn't we (stats really worked)? I think the more important thing should be to prevent the "mus-communication" (like in LAL game) happen again. If we can stick with the plan, we will take the good and/or bad.

  • feelingsupersonic says 8 months ago

    Matt Bullard was talking during the timeout before that Rudy Gay 3 pointer. He said he had asked the Rocket's analytics guys about this exact situation. They told him if a team fouls up 3 with a few seconds left they win 90% of the time. They also said that if a team lets the opponent shoot the three they win 90% of the time.

    It was a touch choice, but I can see why he would choose to let them shoot it. That was just a good shot by Gay.



    Good information johnnygold. I would also like to point out that another coach named VanGundy also is philosophically opposed to fouling in that situation. Just saying it is much easier as fans after it all went down to say they should have fouled.
  • PKM says 8 months ago

    this is my problem with the Rockets in that situation. if they foul Gay the Raptors get 2 free throws. let's say Gay makes both. now they must foul the Rockets after they have advanced the ball to the front court via timeout. even if we miss both, they have no timeouts to advance the ball and must run the full length of the court with only a couple seconds left if that much............now unless they hit a hail mary we win. ten extra minutes of wear and tear on the team is spared

    And you're ignoring the possibility that we foul Gay in the act of shooting, or the possibility of Houston missing free throws, or just a plain halfcourt hit. It's really not that simple - against Lebron or Kobe or Durant I could understand fouling, but this is Rudy Gay we're talking about here. That recent Boston Miami game should show that these things are never that easy.

  • rockets best fan says 8 months ago

    Matt Bullard was talking during the timeout before that Rudy Gay 3 pointer. He said he had asked the Rocket's analytics guys about this exact situation. They told him if a team fouls up 3 with a few seconds left they win 90% of the time. They also said that if a team lets the opponent shoot the three they win 90% of the time.

    It was a touch choice, but I can see why he would choose to let them shoot it. That was just a good shot by Gay.

    this is my problem with the Rockets in that situation. if they foul Gay the Raptors get 2 free throws. let's say Gay makes both. now they must foul the Rockets after they have advanced the ball to the front court via timeout. even if we miss both, they have no timeouts to advance the ball and must run the full length of the court with only a couple seconds left if that much............now unless they hit a hail mary we win. ten extra minutes of wear and tear on the team is spared

  • datruth says 8 months ago I said the same thing please foul Gay, but again that's McHale.
  • thejohnnygold says 8 months ago

    Matt Bullard was talking during the timeout before that Rudy Gay 3 pointer. He said he had asked the Rocket's analytics guys about this exact situation. They told him if a team fouls up 3 with a few seconds left they win 90% of the time. They also said that if a team lets the opponent shoot the three they win 90% of the time.

    It was a touch choice, but I can see why he would choose to let them shoot it. That was just a good shot by Gay.

  • rocketrick says 8 months ago

    I agree winning a battle like this is good for culture building. however I was upset that we forgot what was working in the first half (going the Howard). this game never should have been this close. also that GAFF by the coaching staff at the end of regulation......up 3 with 6.1 on the clock and the Raptors our of timeouts......we should have fouled the Raptors before they could get a shot up and the game would have been over. this is the 3rd game in a row we have been outcoached. Yes we won tonight, but if our coach don't start doing his job we are headed for problems


    Yep, the Rockets definitely should have fouled in the final 6.1 seconds of regulation because of the fact the Raptors were out of time-outs.

    Still, everyone can take a positive that the Rockets fought tooth and nail for the win.
  • rockets best fan says 8 months ago

    This was one if those leaning how to win ugly games. They have a good ways to go. Lin played well. Howard kept the Rockets in the rebound game against a good rebounding team. Beverley coming in at the end to get under Lowry's skin was perfect. Hopefully Harden and Garcia get back to full strength soon. Winning a battle of attrition is an important step in building a winning culture.

    I agree winning a battle like this is good for culture building. however I was upset that we forgot what was working in the first half (going the Howard). this game never should have been this close. also that GAFF by the coaching staff at the end of regulation......up 3 with 6.1 on the clock and the Raptors our of timeouts......we should have fouled the Raptors before they could get a shot up and the game would have been over. this is the 3rd game in a row we have been outcoached. Yes we won tonight, but if our coach don't start doing his job we are headed for problems

  • feelingsupersonic says 8 months ago In a post game interview on 790AM Parsons commented that Jones had performed well in practice for a couple days and got a nod to enter the rotation, I am glad he delivered. I would be pretty interesting to watch the Rockets practice at this stage.
  • Alituro says 8 months ago

    Jones played well.. As long as it is obvious that this roster will continue experiencing growing pains, I don't see any reason not to include Jones in the process. Maybe this is an indication of McHale extending the rotations another player or two. I hope so, as we will not be able to continue playing PF by committee and expect the success we all eventually expect. It's also quite possible that Jones' development will be the deciding factor in whether or not we keep or trade Asik at the deadline.

  • tombrokeoff says 8 months ago

    i agree but i thought our depth was a huge strength - didnt think it should have even gone to OT. should have won by 10 or so IMO. Ill take it though.

  • feelingsupersonic says 8 months ago This was one if those leaning how to win ugly games. They have a good ways to go. Lin played well. Howard kept the Rockets in the rebound game against a good rebounding team. Beverley coming in at the end to get under Lowry's skin was perfect. Hopefully Harden and Garcia get back to full strength soon. Winning a battle of attrition is an important step in building a winning culture.
  • tombrokeoff says 8 months ago

    ugly, ugly game. thank god for Lin, Jones, Howard's rebounds and defense, and im sure im overlooking some stuff. but those were the main things that stuck out to me as reasons we won this. we have to cut the TOs down, and pick up the FT and 3P %s.

  • Red94 says 8 months ago New post: Houston Rockets 110, Toronto Raptors 104: This game is, and has always been, about buckets
    By: Paul McGuire

    • In the aftermath of the earlier horrifying 2 game losing streak, there have been discussions on everything from short rotations to the usage of power forwards to Lin’s role in the rotation to the Twin Towers lineup to silly Twitter spats on who supposedly said what about some teammate.  But I believe that there is one issue that hasn’t been talked about enough, namely Houston’s dreadful 3-point shooting for these past eight games.  After shooting over 36% from there last year, Houston is now barely shooting over 31% this season, which includes a 7-26 performance tonight against the Raptors.  The Raptors, led by a defensively skilled but offensively unimaginative coach in Dwayne Casey, and lacking any true 3 point gunners, managed to outshoot the Rockets from range tonight.  This trend simply cannot continue, especially if Houston intends to play centers in Howard and Asik who do not possess any range.

    • It may be one thing to start recapping what was a hard fought victory on a negative note, but I will freely admit to being much more frustrated by this game than the second Clippers defeat.  A large part of that is due to Jonas Valanciunas.  The young center, who is supposed to be the future of the Raptors franchise, was incredible tonight.  His stat lines may not be that impressive, as he finished with 10 points on 9 shots and grabbed 13 boards, but he had a real effect on Dwight Howard and on Toronto’s defense.  Valanciunas suffered from foul trouble throughout the game, and Houston repeatedly capitalized when he sat out to take advantage of Toronto’s weaker interior defense.  He then fouled out for good with 3:11 left in the game, when Houston led 84-80.  Yet without their best player, the Raptors hustled, grabbed rebounds, and took advantages of Dwight’s continued free throw struggles to force one overtime, and then another off of a ridiculous Rudy Gay buzzer beater before finally succumbing to James Harden and Jeremy Lin in the second overtime.  From my perspective, Houston likely does not win this game if Valanciunas plays during overtime.
    • I mentioned Dwight’s free throw struggles, but they were a severe problem during tonight’s game.  Finishing 4-12 from the line is bad enough, but Howard was also visibly rattled taking foul shots at the end of the game, as he finished 1-6 over the course of the 4th quarter and the 2 overtimes.  More than anything, Howard looked visibly nervous at the foul line at the very end, which is the absolute worst thing one could see from the superstar center this late in the game.
    • As a contrast to this negativity, Jeremy Lin deserves particular praise for his play tonight.  Lin was largely quiet during the first half, as Howard and Harden dominated the Raptors and built a commanding 47-33 lead at the end of the half.  However, Toronto adjusted and Houston began to move away from giving the ball to Howard, which permitted the Raptors to creep back into the game and eventually extend it by an additional ten minutes.  During the fourth quarter and the overtimes, Lin at times was seemingly the only one who was willing to put the ball on the court and make something out of nothing.  He was the only player tonight who shot well from long range as he finished 3 for 6 from there, and eventually closed the game out with 31 points.  According to Jonathan Feign, that is the most amount of points a Houston bench player has scored since Carl Landry’s incredible last season with the Rockets – and Landry was well on his way to winning the Sixth Man of the Year award until he was traded to the Kings and a starting position.
    • Does tonight’s game signal the end of the Twin Towers and/or the appearance of Terrence Jones in the regular rotation?  With Francisco Garcia out with the flu, Jones largely took Garcia’s minutes during the 2nd quarter, but Jones’s athleticism and rebounding were good enough that McHale chose to have Jones in the starting lineup at the beginning of the second half.  That arrangement lasted only three minutes until two quick fouls from Jones had McHale send in Omri Casspi, but at bare minimum, Howard and Asik did not play together for a single second during the second half.  There are currently many mistakes in this stage of Jones’s young career.  His offense generally needs work, as he has a problem finishing and does not possess a reliable jump shot.  His team defense in knowing the rotation also needs work, but his defense tonight was extremely good on an individual basis.  Jones spent most of the second half and overtimes guarding Rudy Gay, who was even more inefficient than usual with 29 points on 37 shots.   There is little doubt in my mind that Jones has managed to play his way into a rotation player for now, even when Garcia returns from the flu.
  • rockets best fan says 8 months ago

    the Rockets should win, but I said that same thing to last 2 games so we will see. if this TT lineup is ever going to work NOW would be a good time