In our modern society, where attention spans grow short and everything boils down to the snap ending, “urgency” is the tool which is used to grab focuses. Every third down becomes urgent, every play becomes urgent, every game becomes urgent. Yet despite how every game is supposedly the urgent and critical one, it is tonight’s game, against the floundering New York Knicks, that the trite cliché of “urgency” becomes far too real. For if the Rockets lose after two days of rest to a New York team that played in San Antonio last night, I will be the first to admit that this Houston team might actually be in trouble.
Nostradamstrauss – In ESPN’s 5-on-5 roundtable of predictions for the New Year, Ethan Sherwood Strauss goes way out on a limb and says the Rockets will shock everyone:
The Rockets will trade James Harden. He’s bad at defense and they care about things others don’t seek to quantify. I could see Houston trading Harden for some depth and high draft picks.
Strauss is just spit-balling, but I can’t see this happening unless Harden just gives up on the team. Despite what his defense looks like, the team is still clearly and quantifiably better with him on the floor. The fluffy face of the franchise isn’t going anywhere.
Evolution – David Vertserger at Hickory High has some insight into Dwight Howard’s image since his arrival in Houston, comparing what was said in the L.A. press when he left the Lakers to his production this year.
Dwight Howard has yet to become the league-wide favorite he once was, and perhaps he may never regain this widespread fandom. Whatever doubts concerning Howard’s immaturity, childish antics and mentality that still remain – they have their place. But as for his basketball this season, it has been unimpeachable.
James Harden is the analytical era’s most accepted high volume scorer. Nearly all his points accumulate behind the three-point arc, in the restricted area, or at the free-throw line—in the form of many, many free-throws every game.
These happen to be the most desirable scoring locations on a basketball court, and nobody uses them with more uncompromising concentration than Harden. Now 34 games into the season, Harden’s offensive repertoire is expanding to an unlikely area: the mid-range.