Huq’s Pen: All-Star weekend, Jordan, Dwight

You saw my videos with former Rockets Robert Horry and Sam Cassell from earlier today in the post before this.  Great, great stuff from those guys and always surreal hearing them talk about those glory days.  I remember being an 11 year old kid and having my world shattered when that ’96 team got swept by the Sonics to end the title run.  I still hate Gary Payton.

Horry and Cassell’s disbelief regarding the move is natural and to be expected.  But to this day, I still think the Barkley trade was the right move.  It did what it was designed to do – it got us past Seattle.  Without Barkley, we don’t get past Seattle.  Charles was a man possessed in that series.  And my contention has always been that after Brent Price went down, had Houston picked up either Kevin Johnson or Tim Hardaway–guys alleged to have been waiting by their phones–they would have advanced to the Finals.  Neither KJ nor Hardaway were defensive stoppers.  But either legend would have been wily enough to at least not be completely torched by John Stockton in the 4th quarter of Game 6, as Matt Maloney was.

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The Daily Blast – February 18, 2013

James All-Starden – The Beard scored 15 points, snatched six rebounds, and dropped three dimes while playing 26 minutes his All-Star game debut. It was not an MVP-level performance (hey CP3), but it was definitely more than a cameo (solid six minutes, KG). Also, in the midst of the oceans of electronic ink used in telling the stories of the All-Stars this weekend, Fran Blinebury’s profile of Harden floated to the top. After pointing out that Harden leads the league in three point plays, the article examines his unique style of drawing fouls:

“Carmelo and LeBron are bigger guys who can get to the basket and get fouled,” McHale said. “Derrick Rose protects the ball and absorbs the body blows. But James just has a unique ability to extend it out there and stay under control.”

Harden shakes his head and laughs.

“I do challenge people,” he said. “A lot of guys are tempted with me putting the ball out. They think they can steal it. If they don’t, it’s gonna be a foul. But I understand why they do it. It’s right there. I have no idea where that came from. I just picked it up one day and it stuck.”

Another interesting quote from Harden touches on his recruiting efforts:

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From the Houston Chronicle:

“His contract is up next year, I believe,” Alexander said on Saturday. “We’ll re-up him. Daryl knows that I judge him all the time. I’ve told him. He’s not shy about it, either. He just knows that’s the way I operate. Why wouldn’t I? The general manager is the one person in your organization you can really judge. He can make good moves or bad moves. This year, I think he’s made three terrific moves.”

Those moves would be the trade for Harden and the signing of Asik and Lin. Les Alexander’s statement shouldn’t come as a surprise.

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Dwight on Rockets: “I Like Their Team”

Read into it what you will, but Dwight Howard sounds very high on Houston. From the Dream Shake:

During media availability, when Dwight Howard was asked about joining the Houston Rockets, he had a surprising answer.

“I like their team to be honest with you,” Howard said when discussing the Rockets. “They’re a great team. They’re young. They play hard. They’re scrappy. They play together. Everything they do has been great. It’s fun to watch them.”

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