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Debut Saturday

  • Two things stood out regarding new Houston Rocket guard Kevin Martin:
  1. When he dribbles, he looks somewhat like a duck.  It was humorous to watch him waddle down the court while bringing the ball up.
  2. I held my breath every time he drew contact.  He had less meat on his arms than most of the women in the stands.

  • While he struggled, I really liked what I saw.  As has been discussed ad nauseum, his skillset fits this offense perfectly.  For Martin everything comes within the flow – he won’t ever hold the ball and try to go between his legs and take his man off the dribble.  He’s like Chase Budinger in the sense that upon receiving the ball, he will either immediately pass it, or, he will pump fake and drive into the middle.  But what struck me the most are that his drives are controlled.  I hate to go back to Ariza here, but its just so useful for comparison.  When Ariza drives to the basket, he’s so uncoordinated and unskilled, he can’t make himself stop if things go awry – he just continues in, result be damned.  On the other hand, Martin pump fakes, drives in half-way, and if nothing is there, he immediately passes back out.  That fits perfectly.
  • The Houston Rockets looked their best in the 2nd quarter with Kevin Martin, Chase Budinger, and Aaron Brooks on the perimeter, going on a 14-2 run at one point.   I can’t remember the court looking so wide open before at any point all season.
  • This DVD should be sent to Chris Bosh’s home on July 1st: The camera is angled from the right high post.  Up top is Aaron Brooks, coming towards you for the pick&roll.  On the wings wait Kevin Martin and Chase Budinger, ready to launch 3′s at a moment’s notice.  Inside waits the game’s most dominant big man, now because of you, guarded by single coverage.  Friends and family litter the stands.
  • I was extremely disappointed to see that Trevor’s usage has not gone down.  Originally, my plan for this game had been to count the number of times Ariza was allowed to create his own shot.  Unfortunately, this was foiled by two factors: 1) he and Martin rarely shared the court (due to Martin not starting and Ariza’s injury) and 2) I was flipping back and forth between this and the Knick game in the second half.  You see, what should be one of the biggest benefits to this team adding offensive weapons is that it should theoretically force down Ariza’s usage.  If you watched the 4th quarter, you can understand my frustration.  Trevor touched it way too many times, even getting it in the post (where he really has no business), and we lost.  Now naturally, it was just his first game, so it’s not surprising that they weren’t exactly force-feeding Kevin Martin.  What concerns me though is that he can’t really create off the dribble.  In itself, that’s not a big deal – his other skills fit this team perfectly.  The problem is that because he can’t, I fear they will just keep going to Trevor, who for some reason has everyone fooled that he can (!?!?).  If Trevor Ariza has the basketball in his hands, this team won’t ever do anything.

On McGrady

Newsday’s Alan Hahn tweeted before the game that there was a certain buzz at the Garden.  Honestly, the episode was surreal.  The world’s most famous arena exploded upon Tracy’s every touch.  They chanted his name as he rested, conjuring up remembrance of past days when he was our savior.  He was involved in every play, from his pet spots on the left block or the high screen&roll right, and he was delivering in vintage form.  He still looked incredibly slow with little to no burst in the leg.  But with Tracy, the passing and skill level is so high, those limitations can be overcome.  I was very happy for Tracy last night and glad to see him do well.

in game coverage

About the author: Rahat Huq is a lawyer in real life and the founder and editor-in-chief of Red94.net.