The Red94 Podcast: Episode 64

In this week’s episode, Rahat and Forrest Walker discuss the potential of the Donatas Motiejunas-Dwight Howard pairing.

in multimedia

Screenshot 2014-12-14 20.27.32

Things are looking up for the Houston Rockets as they travel to Denver for a rematch against the Nuggets on Wednesday.  They’ll then come home to face a Pelicans team that may or may not have Anthony Davis in the lineup; a healthy Davis, next to Omer Asik, would have provided further indication as to whether the Dwight Howard-Donatas Motiejunas pairing has staying power for the future.  The Rockets then face a Hawks team on Saturday that, despite being the surprise team of the league, quite frankly nobody cares about.  Paul Millsap, however, is definitely now off the market.

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in from the editor

James Harden grabbed the third triple double of his career (though to be fair, the Rockets frittered the last two minutes of the game away trying to get Harden the final rebound, and then he nearly lost it to Troy Daniels). Dwight Howard roared back into action after missing nearly a month of basketball and finished with 26 points and 13 rebounds in 30 minutes. But my favorite statistic is that for the first time this season, three Rockets scored more than 20 points in a game. Howard, Harden with 25, and Donatas Motiejunas with a career high 25.

And it was Motiejunas who turned this game around. The Rockets started off slow and fell behind by double digits to Denver by the first quarter. They shot 1 for 10 in the paint during the first quarter, and Houston’s offense seemed confused by Denver’s long arms and athleticism. But Motiejunas scored seven straight points in the second quarter and 13 in that period to spark a Rockets run which would keep them ahead for the rest of the game. Denver attempted a rally late in the third quarter and came within 5, but Houston countered early in the fourth quarter and was not seriously threatened for the rest of the game.

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in game coverage

Last year, I took some extended looks at crunch time performance (here and here). I’m going to continue doing so this year, starting with this article. Moreover, I’m going to examine it from a very macro perspective to better capture and criticize the heroball phenomenon.

In economics, there’s a measurement you may have heard of called the Gini Coefficient. It measures how equitably something is distributed in something else (e.g., how equitably is income distributed in a country). Borrowing the Gini Coefficient, I’ve created a measurement I call the Ballhog Coefficient. It measures how equitably shot attempts are distributed in the NBA. To illustrate this measurement, consider this graph.

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in essays

Rockets Roundup: 12/12/14

A quick and digestible look at the most top-of-mind Rockets news of the past few days. James Harden scores 44 points, including 10 in OT, to lift Rockets over Kings.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Although he struggled to hit shots in regulation, James Harden demonstrated in overtime why he’s the NBA’s leading scorer. Harden scored a season-high 44 points, including 10 in the extra period, and also had eight assists to lead the Houston Rockets over the Sacramento Kings 113-109 on Thursday night.

Houston Chronicle. Five things we learned in the Rockets’ 113-109 road win over the Kings on Thursday.

James Harden began the road trip questionable to play at all with back spasms. By Thursday, he sat for just 43 seconds in the second half, playing 83 minutes in the back-to-back before heading to overtime. Once there, Harden demonstrated again how unstoppable he can be, taking the ball to the basket to complete not just the Rockets’ comeback to the win, but his top-scoring game of the season under particularly difficult circumstances.

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in columns

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