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 12th installment.
What a difference a year makes.
Exactly one year ago, Dwight returned from injury to help Lakers end a 6-game losing streak by beating the Cavs. That was the 16-21 Lakers over the 9-30 Cavs, and it was kind of a big deal at the time. [read more…]
The Houston Rockets are getting into a nasty habit. They gave up another 20 point lead to let an Atlantic Division team creep within single digits. The good news is that the Boston Celtics never regained a lead in the second half, unlike the Washington Wizards in the previous game. The bad news is that the Celtics are quite a bit worse than the Wizards, and should have been an even easier out. Unfortunately, a combination of factors culminated in this cakewalk starting and ending more like a steep mountain hike.
The easy answer for what the Rockets did wrong was that they let the Celtics scoop up offensive rebounds. Boston had 15 on the night while the Rockets had 10. Plenty of sequences saw Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk grabbing easy rebounds off Celtics misses with red jerseys standing helplessly. Some of this can be attributed to size differential, as the Rockets were happy to go small, even running Terrence Jones as the center for a while. The Celtics kept larger players on the floor, and survived off of rebounds in the first quarter. This doesn’t explain the fourth quarter, however, when the Rockets suddenly lost the ability to play basketball and instead simply turned the ball over repeatedly while Jerry Bayless went off.
I’ve been writing the last week on Donatas Motiejunas and my belief of his need for consistent playing time. A reader, Johnny Rocket, makes a compelling counter-argument:
I disagree with Rahat’s premise that playing time is the same thing as player development. The first thing that NBA players have to learn is that if you don’t do things the right way, you don’t play. It is absolutely vital–especially on teams that have ambitions of becoming contenders–that the best players play without exception. Jones didn’t play last year because he wasn’t as good as the other options (including Greg Smith). But that experience helped Jones, as he freely admits.
With all the injuries to all the big men, D-Mo has had plenty of time to establish himself as a viable option. He’s failed to do so, so why reward that failure with more playing time? It would be devastating for morale, as the players would see it as a white flag of surrender.
from the editor