Coming off a disappointing loss to Sacramento, this was a key game for the Rockets to get back on track. Some bad habits have been forming that it would have been nice to see broken, but more important was to get a win to stop the team from sliding any further down the Western Conference standings. They weren’t perfect, and they left it late, but eventually they hung on for an important win.

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in game coverage

What happens during crunch time


Click for a full-sized interactive version

The above collection of charts shows how the Houston Rockets perform on four metrics during “crunch time,” defined as the last five minutes of a game in which the Houston Rockets are behind by five points or less, or tied.

Technical details

On the x-axis are seven different periods of time. The first one, called “all,” shows performance in a metric for the entire game. The next six shows a team’s performance in a metric only when the team is behind by five points or less, or is tied, with a certain amount of time left in the game. The blue line represents the Houston Rockets. The orange line represents all teams. So, if we look at the first chart, it shows how the Houston Rockets and the rest of the NBA perform on defense in general, and how that performance changes when the game is close and less time remains in the game.

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in essays

The Rockets Daily – January 3, 2013

Like A Rock – On ESPN’s Insider’s list of most immovable contracts, Jeremy Lin’s deal didn’t make the top 5, which is Amare Stoudemire territory, but it did warrant an honorable mention:

Two years and $16.7 million remaining for an average point guard. Because Lin was signed under the Gilbert Arenas provision, he is actually owed $14.6 million in cash next year.

 Turning HeadsOn Sunday I wrote about where Dwight Howard’s game is in comparison to his L.A. and Orlando days, on Tuesday they wrote about it over at Hickory High, and now Greg Anthony is talking about it on Yahoo. It’s becoming pretty clear that Howard’s malaise in L.A. is not going to define the rest of his career.

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in columns

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