3-on-3: Houston’s February Queries

 

The All-Star starters have just been announced. The Rockets are currently at 12-10 and would like to gain traction in an increasingly tight Southwest Division race. They are currently tied with the Grizzlies for the ninth seed and a game out of the playoffs behind the Lakers.

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Five Notes on a String: February 3rd, 2012

  • One of the most endearing aspects of cheering for one specific basketball team is the relentless optimism of the beginning of a season; almost as pleasant is the ephemeral breeziness of a season lost once mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. No, the true misery lies with those stomach-churning, disemboweled-thanks-to-all-of-the-gut-wrenching followers of teams on the brink; on the brink of the one seed, of the playoffs, of the ability to completely humiliate and degrade a team’s rival, the pain afflicts those who have something to lose. Suddenly, Rockets fans find themselves back in such murky waters, facing the frustrating reality of logistics, as in, “Who in the hell can the Rockets logistically beat out for a playoff spot?” According to John Hollinger’s Playoff Odds, not many teams. Having had the 12th easiest schedule entering Friday’s play, the Rockets’ strength of schedule surely will increase in upcoming months, with a lot of those games coming against our most virulent rivals for these playoff spots: the surprise monsters of the Northwest (Utah and Portland) and every other team in the Southwest. In fact, the new month will bring with a great deal more crushing, horrifying certainty with two games against Utah, two against Memphis and one in Portland; if there were ever a time to see the Rockets show their mettle, this would be it. Yeah, I remember this feeling, a constant tension after every win, too ready for the other shoe to drop, or a dejected, slow gaze downward after every loss, sure that all of the other teams are having more fun without your team in the playoff hunt. Yup, the playoffs, or at least the promise of them, have returned to Houston; I’m going to need some TUMS. [read more...]

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The gist: The Rockets suffered a second half meltdown in a 99-91 loss to the Spurs. Houston now plays host to the Suns before embarking on a six-game road swing. Steve Nash had a memorable evening in the Suns’ 120-103 victory over the Hornets. He scored a season-high 30 points and surpassed Kevin Johnson as the franchise’s all-time assists leader.

Key matchup: Samuel Dalembert vs Marcin Gortat

Dalembert did not see action in the closing minutes of the Spurs game. He will be raring to bring down the Suns’ double-double machine, but Gortat will not be boxed out easily. The last time the Polish Hammer had less than 10 rebounds was back in January 8 against the Bucks.

X-factor: Chandler Parsons

Parsons has looked completely out of sync in the past four games. It goes beyond his pedestrian stats. It’s the little things: shot selection, staying in front of his man, making scrappy plays. He looks lost on the basketball court. Against Grant Hill and Jared Dudley, Parsons won’t have any excuses.

Code Red: Nash’s 30-10 night makes him the oldest player to achieve such a feat at 37 (and 11 months). Lowry must not allow another point guard to blitz past him after he was abused by Tony Parker.

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Revisiting Gasol, Nene

A reader, StephenJCyrier, writes:

Say it-”-the CP3 deal would have been an unmitigated disaster for the Rockets.”

On the contrary, with the season having transpired as it has, of one thing I am more sure than ever: had the Gasol trade gone down, the Rockets would now be competing for one of the, if not the top seed in the Western Conference.

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More on Kaman, Scola

Mark Berman of Fox 26 confirmed that while the Rockets have had discussions with the Hornets regarding Kaman, the Sports Illustrated report on the players involved is not accurate.

SI had reported that the Rockets’ offer involved Hasheem Thabeet and Jordan Hill and could also involve Patrick Patterson, Jonny Flynn, and Terrence Williams.

It’s unclear whether Berman means the report was wholly inaccurate, in terms of the players mentioned, or that the specifics were merely a bit off.  Is it still structured around ‘the busts’ or is it fundamentally different, involving, say Luis Scola?

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