“Mid-Season” Reflections

The All-Star break—also known as the regular season’s most significant benchmark—has arrived for the Rockets. What’s that mean? Well, for the fastest team in the league, it’s time to rest. For me? It’s time to reflect on the season’s first 55 games by taking a close look at three important pros and three improvable cons as the Rockets prepare to make their first playoff appearance in four long years. [read more…]






in essays

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The Daily Blast – February 14, 2013

“A Match Made In Heaven” – It’s Valentine’s Day, so over at SI.com, Rob Mahoney is getting all mushy-gushy about how great all the Rockets’ players compliment each other on offense:

That aspect of Houston’s approach is often overlooked when we view this team as James and the Hardenaires. The Rockets’ entire offensive enterprise was transformed by Harden’s arrival, but such an approach is only possible because the personnel just so happened to provide a fantastic conceptual fit. Houston has the speed and young legs to get up the court quickly, the positional flexibility to go small and get away with it, the specialists that make the system go and a depth of shooters that space the floor for their bread-and-butter plays. When Harden looks to execute a high pick-and-roll, the attention of fans and opponents alike is fixed on his workings with the ball. He’s earned that focus with deadly drives and accurate shooting. Yet out on the periphery are a crew of complementary parts that make it all possible — spacing the floor, moving without the ball and doggedly adhering to the plan in place.

I mean, when you’re talking about chemistry, I’d put a Harden-Asik pick-and-roll right up there with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in Joe Versus the Volcano.

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in game coverage

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The Clippers proved, tonight, that every quarter in an NBA game matters, not just the fourth. The Rockets shot over 50% from the field and scored 28 points in the first frame, but still found themselves on the wrong side of an 18 point deficit. With the rest of the game only changing the lead by 8 points, the first quarter determined the outcome immediately. The Rockets now head back home to host All-Star weekend and have a week for James Harden (ankle, knee) and Toney Douglas (hip pointer) to heal up before their next game.

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in game coverage

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Houston’s Offense Revisited

In the past eight games, Houston has averaged nearly 118 points per game en route to a 5-3 record. During this stretch, the Rockets won two games of historical import, beating the Jazz by 45 points on their home court (the worst home loss in franchise history) and trouncing the Warriors by the score of 140-109, tying an NBA record with 23 three-pointers in the process. In an earlier post, I noted that although Houston’s shot allocation was as efficient as that of any team in the league, the Rockets were not converting enough of these shots to produce an elite offense. Now, more than halfway through the season and with the Rockets in the midst of a “hot” streak offensively, how does this initial prognosis hold up?

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