Rockets Roundup: 01/07/2015

A quick and digestible look at the most top-of-mind Rockets news of the past few days.

Grantland. The Future of Basketball Is Here, and It Looks A Lot Like James Harden.

“As of today, James Harden is the leading scorer in the NBA and the most important offensive force on a team in the thick of the Western Conference title race. He’s a legitimate MVP candidate, quite clearly the best shooting guard in the league. And yet, he’s more than that. Those plaudits only scratch the surface of what he’s doing this season…”

Houston Chronicle. Struggles down the stretch worry Rockets more than free throw absence in loss to Bulls.

“A day after the Rockets lamented so rarely getting to the line in the loss to the Bulls, when they made just three of five free throws to barely exceed the franchise records for fewest made and taken in a game, they pointed instead to their shortcomings down the stretch…”

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According to nbasavant.com, Motiejunas leads the league in scoring off hook shots, hitting his 89 such attempts at a 60.6% clip. He further ranks second when you combine those finishes with turnaround, fadeaway jump-shots. Context is important, of course – Motiejunas is not often guarded by the opponent’s top big man. But Motiejunas has nonetheless improved his ability to set deep post position against more athletic types and his footwork is very natural. He is able to score from either side of the block, often preferring to finish with a turnaround, right-handed hook but also carrying an up-and-under to protect himself against shot blockers and a jump-stop left-handed hook in his arsenal.

Bballbreakdown.com had a nice scouting report of our favorite Lithuanian 7-footer.  Motiejunas seems to have returned to form after being reinserted into the starting lineup the other night, though one wonders why the team curiously went away from him in crunch time against the Bulls yesterday after he had been eating Joakim Noah’s lunch.






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Rockets Roundup: 01/05/2015

A quick and digestible look at the most top-of-mind Rockets news of the past few days.  

Houston Chronicle. Five things we learned in the Rockets’ bounce-back win over the Heat.

From the opening tip, the Rockets were determined to play with all the energy they saved the night before. For that matter, they were determined. If the Rockets really did learn a lesson Friday that they applied to Saturday, it might have been worth taking their worst loss of the season. That would only be true if it lasts more than 24 hours, but there was no question that they responded to the embarrassing loss in their next chance, playing with the energy and urgency that was lacking and largely has been lacking in recent weeks. Even when they trailed early, the Rockets defense was aggressive at forcing turnovers, demonstrating the way they have to play even when they are not coming off the worst loss of the season.

Forbes. 2015 30 under 30: Sports.

As a chubby teenager with asthma, James Harden knew his NBA dream was a “long shot.” But the future superstar forced himself to get up early before school to jack up shots in the gym and lift weights. That work eventually earned Harden a scholarship to Arizona State, where he played for two years before being drafted third overall in 2009 by the Oklahoma City Thunder. More than five years later, Harden is living out his fantasy, now as the starting shooting guard for the Houston Rockets with an Olympic gold medal to his name.

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Our apologies for the lack of content the past few days.  We’re undergoing some routine maintenance.  Please pardon the inconvenience.






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The writers of Red94 got together before the New Year to discuss their thoughts about the Rockets with over 30 games gone. Here is what we had to say:

McGuire: Phil Jackson defined his contenders as teams which won 40 games before they lost 20, and the Rockets are currently on pace to do that just like every other team in the Western Conference (and the Spurs, because they are contenders regardless of their regular season win total).

And yet, I am annoyed with how this season has gone. We all hoped that the Rockets would become even better as players returned from injuries, but we are instead working in new players which has hampered us to some degree. Rahat said that seeding doesn’t really matter, but I think this is backwards. Seeding represents wins, which represents how well Smith and Brewer are integrating with this team.

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