The Rockets Daily – January 20, 2013

Bev’s Back – It looks like Patrick Beverley will be back in the lineup tonight when Portland comes to town.  Despite missing a month with his broken hand, McHale is anxious to get him back into the starting lineup.  And with good reason.

“(Lin’s) communicating and scoring is really good for that group,” McHale said. “That’s why I want to get back to that. I thought that was some of the best basketball we have played this year. Getting back to that should be really good for us.”

As has been pointed out in this space before, Lin’s skill set is vital to a second unit that has struggled since he was forced into the starting role.  And Beverley provides the defensive toughness that no one else in the Rockets backcourt can really provide (unless Brandon Knight is in town, apparently).  Shifting Beverley back into the starting role with Lin off the bench might also help curb James Harden’s minutes some, as he averaged over 39 mpg for the month of January.

And with Damian Lillard coming to town, Beverley’s return couldn’t have come at a better time.  Last year’s Rookie of the Year has improved his scoring to 21.4 ppg this year, while shooting almost 44% from deep.  Expect Beverley to hound Lillard up and down the court as he strives to prove what the Rockets have been missing in his absence.

Trade Talk – Amin Elhassan of ESPN Insider has another trade idea in their series leading up to the trade deadline this February.  Of course, it involves Omer Asik: [read more…]

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Dwight Howard’s arrival in Houston signals the arrival of one of the most dominant players in basketball, along with one of the most polarizing personalities in sports. Here at Red94, we are embracing the drama of Superman’s first season as a Rocket with a weekly column: “DwightLife.” This is the 13th installment.

Dwight Howard hit a three-point shot against the Bucks last week, which means he’s now shooting an insane 40 percent on threes this season…on five attempts, two of which were full-court heaves.

Both of his makes came with the shot clock winding down and no one else open, so it’s not as if McHale is drawing these plays up. But maybe he should. I’m halfway playing devil’s advocate and halfway being serious here. Come along for the ride.  [read more…]

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Is it time to panic?

The season is over halfway done. The All-Star Break often serves as shorthand for the season’s halfway point, but February 14th is actually well past the 41-game mark. No, the season is already on the other side of the hill, and the league is largely taking shape. Oklahoma City and Indiana demolish all opponents while Milwaukee and Sacramento continue to barely hang on. Are the Houston Rockets members of the elite four, or is it time to hit the panic button?

The good news is that the Rockets are better this year than last year. The bad news is that they aren’t as dominant as many predicted them to be. At 27-15, the Rockets have managed only a fifth seed so far. For a team that wants to see the conference finals, being on pace for barely 50 wins is something of a disappointment. Last Thursday’s game against the Thunder serves as a microcosm of the season to date. Houston shows great potential, but can’t seem to unleash their skill for any extended period of time. Inexperience and nerves take over, and turnovers fall from the skies.

[read more…]

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