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.

[read more…]






in game coverage






in game coverage

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?

[read more…]






On the NBA: Team Identity

Who has it, and who doesn’t? How is it born, what are its costs, and how is it ruined or improved? What is it? A look around the league will, hopefully, bring light to this concept which is both said to be entirely important for success, and variously disputed as one more piece of nonsense; a further excuse for bad player performance; a myth that stands in the hole left open by dearth of talent.

[read more…]






in columns

The Daily Blast – February 13, 2014

Vindication – Ian Levy at Hardwood Paroxysm has been running a series on trying to quantify shot quality. A few days ago he came to conclusions on which teams do the best job of valuing quality shots on both ends of the floor. Levy writes:

Saving James Harden and Omer Asik, the Rockets’ roster has no talent in the offensive or defensive extremes. But they are clearly adhering to a system that gives them the best opportunities to maximize their available tools. A team that leans on the excuse of, “we know where we want to shoot from, but aren’t good enough to create those shots” I would point them towards Houston and their passionate fundamentalist devotion to shot selection. Does it feel reasonable to say that the talent on the Rockets’ roster give them a better opportunity to create good shots and limit the same in their opponents, than say the talent of the Celtics or the Warriors?

I think there’s another huge lesson learned here: Kevin McHale is on the sabermetric bus. If you look at the chart that is embedded in that article, you’ll see that the Rockets as an organization don’t just find players whose talents lend themselves to efficiency. The use of empirical data is imprinted in the team’s on-court strategies. If anything answers the question of why Daryl Morey hired Kevin McHale, this is it for me.

[read more…]






in columns

Follow Red94 for occasional rants, musings, and all new post updates