The gist: The Knicks came up short in South Beach, falling 99-89 to the Heat despite Bill Walker’s 21-point performance. Despite playing minus Kevin Martin with plantar fasciitis in his right foot, the Rockets ran away with a 103-76 victory over a hapless Wizards squad that imploded in the second half, thanks to a breakout game from Chase Budinger.
Key matchup: Samuel Dalembert vs Tyson Chandler
These two prized big men hauled over the offseason will strut their defensive wares. It will be a rebounding battle to keep an eye on and both teams will have difficulty operating in the paint with these two giants muscling and boxing out every possible possession.
- Rockets fans, I tire of your continued attacks upon tanking. In Houston, there has been a long, glorious history of losing for the future, one that has brought Houston to basically every height it’s ever reached. Victory over Lakers in Game 6 of Western Conference Finals off of Ralph Sampson’s fingertips? Tanked our way to that giant. Two back-to-back championships on the back of our devout Muslim superhero with the footwork of Kevin McHale and Micahel Jackson’s lovechild? You guessed it, tanked our way to that guy. Long after the lottery was put in place (basically because the Rockets had lost their way to consecutive number one picks), arguably the Rockets’ best player after Dream, Yao Ming, was also collected through a miserable season. When attacking tanking, we Rockets followers gnaw upon the very hands that fed us for so long. I, for one, am a vegetarian, so I gladly welcome the tank that seems so unlikely to come at this point. Read More
As you likely heard yesterday evening, none of the four resident ‘draft busts of 2009′ (the four horsemen perhaps?) had their options invoked. They’ll be unrestricted this summer, free to go where they please, if it is the case that anyone wants them. This does not mean necessarily that their Houston careers are over – the Rockets could choose to negotiate a cheaper deal with any of these players after the season. With that said, except for Jordan Hill, past evidence tells us it’s highly unlikely that this will occur.
What went wrong exactly and what does any of this mean?
The gist: The Wizards stepped up on Randy Wittman’s debut with a 92-75 home win behind Nick Young’s 20 points. Of course, this victory was at the expense of the Bobcats, owners of the league-worst record at 3-16, so don’t forget to pick up the grains of salt that spilled.
Key matchup: Kyle Lowry vs John Wall
After a sluggish start to the season, Wall has found his groove, posting numbers that resemble his stellar rookie season rather than a baller trying to hurdle the sophomore slump. Like Lowry, Wall is also capable of posting a triple-double. The catch? The third category would most likely be from turnovers, where he averages a staggering 4.2/game.
X-factor: Chandler Parsons
Parsons was everywhere and made his presence felt in their most recent game, punctuated by an and-one dunk on a fastbreak play. If Chandler Bang places his fingerprints all over tonight, this game is the Rockets’ to lose.
Code Red: The Wizards are the lone squad without a road win. Just saying.